Recalling the moment of the world’s first satellite launched successfully in the 1960s, the Russian government has named its recently approved COVID-19 vaccine as “Sputnik V,” after the satellite called “Sputnik 1”. In the middle of relentless efforts from scientists across the globe, Russia has approval its COVID-19 vaccine and considered the moment as a great feat for the scientific development in the country. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are nearly 100 possible COVID-19 vaccines developed worldwide, among them four vaccines are already in the final stage (Phase III) human trials.
With working for nearly two months and human testing, Russia finally approved a COVID-19 vaccine developed by a Moscow-based Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology also known as either as Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute but the vaccine has yet to go through the phase III trials. Now, Russia became the first country that granted its regulatory approval to a vaccine despite many experts around the world have raised questions on Moscow’s recent announcement.
After the approval of the vaccine, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other government officials claimed that it was completely safe and he even said one of his daughters had already taken the vaccine. On Tuesday, August 11, 2020, Putin asserted in a government meeting, “I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the necessary checks.” Moreover, the Russian business conglomerate group, AFK Sistema PAO is planning to produce the vaccine into mass production by the end of the year.
Kirill Dmitriev, who is the head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, explained that the country had received a demand for 1 billion doses of the vaccine for the foreign needs and would expand the production in Brazil as well. Dmitriev further said that mass clinical tests would be conducted in the United Arab Emirates and the Philippines soon. Meanwhile, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed his willingness to participate in the trial personally.
As per the Government officials, the vaccine consists of two doses each carrying an S-antigen of the new coronavirus, which produces immune response after entering human cells. Keeping the view for mass manufacturing of the vaccine in Russia from October, authorities believed that this step would help restore the Russian economy, which has been shattered by COVID-19 outbreak, to a very large extent.
Wide Criticism: Phase III Trial Pending
Several experts across the globe condemned Moscow’s decision as the vaccine was approved without passing the final trial, which primarily involves a large portion of participants in the clinical tests. This week, a Moscow-based trade union of drugmakers, the Association of Clinical Trials Organizations (ACTO) urged the ministry to withhold approval until the vaccine’s third phase was completed.
Reflecting Moscow’s move was a poor decision, Peter Kremsner stressed, “Normally you need a large number of people to be tested before you approve a vaccine.” Kremsner currently leads testing of CureVac’s COVID-19 vaccine in clinical trials under the aegis of the University Hospital in Tuebingen, Germany.
Furthermore, the United States (US) criticized Russia’s decision as it was poorly executed. One of the most popular American scientists on infectious disease, Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed his doubt about Moscow’s claim for the vaccine’s widespread use. Fauci asserted at an event on Thursday, “I hope that the Russians have actually definitively proven that the vaccine is safe and effective. I seriously doubt that they’ve done that.”
On ABC News’ “Good Morning America” program, US Health Secretary Alex Azar stressed, “The point is not to be first with a vaccine. The point is to have a vaccine that is safe and effective,” referring to the latest Russia’s announcement. Azar also said, the US is currently working on six potential vaccine development and the effective COVID-19 vaccine would be possible by the end of the year.
I’m Roshan, a journalist, blogger and music lover. I like covering global news related to finance, business, and technology. Focusing on the collection of true and reliable information, I rely on working by conducting interviews with business leaders and talking to the inside sources of companies.
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