“This morning, for the first time in the world, a vaccine against the new coronavirus has been registered,” Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, said during a televised video conference call with government ministers, reported news agency AFP.
Putin has asked, however, that Russia’s Health Minister Mikhail Murashko keep him informed about the evolution of the vaccine testing; the final stages of clinical trials are still ongoing. Russia’s president said that he felt confident about the vaccine’s efficacy. He added that one of his two daughters has received a shot of the vaccine and is feeling well, according to the Associated Press reports.
At this point, however, the vaccine’s registration is conditional and trials will continue while production gets underway, stated the Health Minister. He went on to say that members of risk groups such as medical workers may be offered the vaccine as early as this month.
Clinical trials of the vaccine, which is developed by the Russian Defense Ministry and Gamaleya National Research Center of Epidemiology, began on June 18 and included 38 volunteers. According to the reports from the Russian Defense Ministry, all of the participants developed immunity.
Gamaleya’s vaccine uses inanimate particles created on the basis of adenovirus, Sputnik News reported. Researchers at Gamaleya have stated that there are no concerns regarding potential negative side effects.
Last April, Putin released an order to shorten the time of clinical trials for a variety of drugs, including the Covid-19 vaccines. Some concerns have been raised among scientists regarding Russia’s hurry to release a vaccine. Many have begun to question its safety standards.
“I do hope the vaccine is thoroughly tested before they are administering the vaccine to anyone,” Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease specialist said. “Claiming you have a vaccine ready to distribute before you do testing I think is problematic at best.”
The World Health Organization announced that all vaccines should go through full stages of testing before being rolled out. More than 100 possible vaccines are being developed around the world. At least four are in final Phase III human trials, according to WHO data.
Russian health workers will be offered the choice to be vaccinated soon after the vaccine’s approval, a source informed news agency Reuters.