President Vladimir Putin launched a coronavirus vaccine, touted as the world’s first such vaccine too. The vaccine has been developd jointly by Gamaleya Research Institute and the Russian Defence Ministry. It has already completed all three phases of human clinical trials successfully.
For mass inoculation, norms have been fixed, even as the final stages of clinical trials to test safety and efficacy continue.
President Putin has announced one of his two daughters has already been inoculated, and is feeling well.
Russia is the first country to register a coronavirus vaccine. Many scientists in the country and abroad have been skeptical, however, questioning the decision to register the vaccine before Phase 3 trials.
Russian health ministry had earlier said mass vaccinations could begin by October. Murashko had said members of “risk groups,” such as medical workers, may be offered the vaccine this month.
Meanwhile, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted Russia’s offer of its coronavirus vaccine, volunteering to take the first shot as a gesture of trust and gratitude. “When the vaccine arrives, I will have myself injected in public. Experiment on me first, that’s fine with me,” Duterte said on Monday.
Earlier, US infectious disease specialist Dr Anthony Fauci had questioned of the fast-track approach of China and Russia.
“I do hope that the Chinese and the Russians are actually testing a vaccine before they are administering the vaccine to anyone, because claims of having a vaccine ready to distribute before you do testing I think is problematic at best,” he said.
The World Health Organization had also requested Russia to adopt a cautious approach for gving final approval to the vaccine. It has requested to go through all the all the stages necessary to develop a safe vaccine.
Russia currently has two COVID-19 vaccine candidates in the race – one, a vaccine being developed by the Vektor State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology. The second is a vaccine being produced by the Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology along with the Russian Defence Ministry.
As of 1 August, TASS reported that human trials of the Gam-COVID-Vac Lyo – the vaccine candidate from the Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute – are now complete. The process of registering the vaccine will begin as early as 10 to 12 August.
“Clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine developed by the Gamaleya centre are over, paperwork is underway for the vaccine’s registration,” Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko pointed out in the report.
Russia has not published any findings from its vaccine trials. The World Health Organisation has been tracking various COVID-19 candidates and has made no mention of the vaccine clearing all three phases of human trials.