Russia first to approve Covid vaccine

Putin claims own daughter inoculated | Says mass production soon | Phase-III trials in India

Russia first to approve Covid vaccine

Russia approves a vaccine before other countries.

Moscow, August 11

President Vladimir Putin today said Russia had become the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval to a Covid-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, a move hailed by Moscow as evidence of its scientific prowess.

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How moscow did it

Russian researchers used an already proven technology instead of going into uncharted territory. Since 2015, they have been working on a two-vector approach, using two adenoviral vectors — Ad5 and Ad26. This way, they trick the body that has developed immunity against first vector & boost vaccine effect with 2nd shot using a different vector.

The development paves the way for the mass inoculation of the Russian population, even as the final stage of clinical trials to test safety and efficacy continues.

Named Sputnik V, after satellite

The vaccine has been named Sputnik V, which is a reference to the 1957 Cold War era surprise launch of the world’s first satellite by the Soviet Union.

The speed at which Russia is moving to roll out its vaccine highlights its determination to win the global race for an effective product, but has stirred concerns that it may be putting national prestige before sound science and safety.

Global race

  • 100 possible vaccines being developed across world, including in India
  • 4 in final stage of Phase-III human trials, says WHO
  • 20 nations have sought 1 bn doses of Sputnik V
  • 500 m doses it aims to produce with 5

    foreign partners

Speaking at a government meeting on the state television, Putin said the vaccine, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, was safe and that it had even been administered to one of his daughters.

“I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks,” said Putin. He said he hoped the country would soon start mass producing the vaccine.

Its approval by the health ministry foreshadows the start of a larger trial involving thousands of participants, commonly known as a Phase-III trial. Such trials, which require a certain rate of participants catching the virus to observe the vaccine’s effect, are normally considered essential precursors for a vaccine to receive regulatory approval.

Regulators around the world have insisted that the rush to develop Covid-19 vaccines will not compromise safety. But recent surveys show growing public distrust in governments’ efforts to rapidly produce such a vaccine. More than 100 possible vaccines are being developed around the world to try to stop the pandemic. At least four are in final phase-III human trials, according to WHO data. — Reuters

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