MOSCOW (RUSSIA) – President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia has become the first country to give regulatory approval to a coronavirus vaccine after less than two months of human testing, comparing it to the nation’s success during the Cold War-era space race.
The shot has been christened “Sputnik V” to pay homage to the first satellite placed in orbit by the erstwhile Soviet Union. But it is yet to complete the final trials.
Experts have raised concerns over Kremlin’s decision to grant approval to the vaccine before the completion of the trials. Only about 10% of clinical trials are successful.
On the other hand, Putin and other officials have said the dose is completely safe and the president said one of his daughters had taken the shot as a volunteer and felt good afterwards.
“I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the necessary checks,” Putin said.
Russian business conglomerate Sistema said it would initiate mass production of the vaccine developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute by the end of the year.
It will be given to medical staff and teachers on a voluntary basis by the end of this month or early September. Mass production is likely to start in October.
Given in two doses, the vaccine has two serotypes of a human adenovirus, each carrying an S-antigen of the new coronavirus that enters human cells and triggers an immune response.
According to Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, the country has already received requests for 1 billion doses from overseas.
He said clinical trials were expected to begin soon in the UAE and the Philippines. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he is willing to participate personally.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field