Russia, the first country to approve Covid-19 vaccine

Russia, the first country to approve Covid-19 vaccine

Russia on Tuesday announced it had granted regulatory approval to a Coronavirus vaccine, touted as the world’s first to be registered, amid concerns over safety of the rapidly developed booster.

President Vladimir Putin said the vaccine developed by the state-run Gamaleya research institute along with the Russian Defence Ministry was “safe” and that it had been administered to one of his daughters.

“This morning, for the first time in the world, a vaccine against the new Coronavirus was registered. I know that it’s effective and forms sustainable immunity,” he said in a televised cabinet session broadcast, according to The Moscow Times.

However, the vaccine’s registration is conditional and the Phase-111 trials will continue while production gets underway, said Health Minister Mikhail Murashko. This comes even as the Phase-3 human trials of the vaccine, an injection solution called ‘Sputnik –V’, was launched only last week and estimated to take several months to complete.

Putin, though, stressed the vaccine underwent the necessary tests. “…I repeat it had passed all the needed checks.”

Clinical trials began on June 18 and included 38 volunteers. All of the participants developed immunity. The first group was discharged on July 15 and the second group on July 20.

Experts have expressed concern over the vaccine’s swift registration without completing Phase-3 trials. The World Health Organization had last week urged Moscow to follow established guidelines and go "through all the stages" necessary to develop a safe vaccine.

According to reports, Moscow is set to commence the vaccine production “soon” and has plans for a massive countrywide vaccine drive by October.

Over 100 vaccine candidates are under various stages of development and at least four of them, including the one being developed by the Oxford University, are in the final human trials.

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