On Tuesday, President Vladimir Putin said that Russia had become the world’s first country to officially register a COVID-19 vaccine and declare it ready for use. This comes after less than two months of human testing.
The vaccine is named “Sputnik V” after the Soviet satellite.
“As far as I know, for the first time in the world, a vaccine against the novel coronavirus infection was registered this morning,” President Vladimir Putin said during a televised video conference call with government ministers, according to reports of news agency AFP
The vaccine is yet to complete final trials. Experts have raised concerns about the speed of Russia’s work, suggesting that researchers might be cutting corners. Nevertheless, the Russian business conglomerate Sistema has said it expects to start large-scale production of the vaccine in September, and mass vaccination may begin as early as October.
“I hope we will be able to start mass production of this medication in the near future, which is very important,” Putin said.
One of Putin’s daughters has already been given a shot of the COVID-19 vaccination.
“One of my daughters got vaccinated. In fact, she took part in an experiment. After the first vaccination, she had a (body) temperature of 38⁰ C, (100⁰ F), the next day slightly higher than 37⁰, that’s all,” he said. “She’s feeling well and has high number of antibodies,” Putin added. Putin didn’t name which of his two daughters received the vaccine.
In a statement on Tuesday, The Health Ministry said that the vaccine is expected to provide immunisation from the COVID-19 for up to two years.
Amid fears that safety could have been arbitrated, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged Russia last week to follow international guidelines for producing a vaccine against Covid-19.
On Tuesday, the WHO said it had been in talks with Russian officials about initiating a review of the vaccine Sputnik-V.
Putin emphasized that the vaccine underwent the necessary tests and has proven efficient, offering lasting immunity from the coronavirus.
“I would like to repeat that it has passed all the necessary tests,” he said. “The most important thing is to ensure the full safety of using the vaccine and its efficiency.”
Putin emphasized that vaccination will be voluntary.
Other wealthy countries like India, USA, UK, China, Australia and Germany are in the race of finding the vaccination for the novel coronavirus.
According to the latest reports, the clinical trial of COVAXIN which is jointly developed by Bharat Biotech, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and National Institute of Virology, Pune, has begun at the AIIMS, Patna. Another potential candidate Zydus Cadila is still at Phase I.
Moderna Inc said that it was planning to start the final stage human trial for its potential coronavirus vaccine candidate. Moderna has revealed that it would conduct the trial at 87 study locations which are all in the US.
Maryland-based Novavax has announced that the US government will be funding the vaccine project.
Canada-based Medicago has launched Phase I trials for a potential COVID19 vaccine candidate.
In the UK, two potential Coronavirus vaccine candidates have raised hopes. One is developed by the University of Oxford and partner AstraZeneca and a Pfizer-BioNTech SE collaboration, are already in final-stage studies. Another is being developed by Imperial College London and it has entered the Phase II stage.
Four potential coronavirus vaccine candidates in China are at different stages of development. Wuhan Institute and Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate is at the Phase II stage.
Sinovac and Instituto Butantan are developing one which is at the Phase III stage.
CanSino Biological Inc. and Beijing Institue of Biotech’s potential coronavirus candidate has been approved for military use.
Beijing Institute of Biological products and Sinopharm’s vaccine candidate is at the Phase II stage.
BioNTech, Pfizer, and Fosun Pharma’s potential vaccine candidate have managed to reach the Phase II stage of development.
Vaxine Pty Ltd and Medytox’s potential vaccine candidate is at Phase I stage.
The World Health Organization, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance are working together to bring about equal and broad access. They have together outlined an $18 billion plan in June to roll out shots and secure 2 billion doses by the end of 2021.
The initiative is known as Covax. This intends to give governments an opportunity to hedge the risk of supporting unsuccessful candidates and give other nations with limited finances access to shots that would be other.
Photo Credit: The Economic Times