Russia becomes first nation to approve COVID-19 shot, says President Putin
MOSCOW (RUSSIA) – Russia has become the first nation in the world to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human trials, said President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. Moscow has hailed the development as proof of its scientific abilities.
The fact that the shot is yet to complete final trials has caused concern among some experts. But business conglomerate Sistema said it hopes to commercially produce the vaccine by the end of the year.
Health workers treating those infected with coronavirus will be the first to get the shots.
With regulatory approval, the firm can commercially produce the vaccine and initiate steps for mass vaccination, thereby bringing back the economy to pre-pandemic normalcy.
Head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund Kirill Dmitriev has hailed the announcement of the vaccine as a historic “Sputnik moment”, comparing it to the USSR’s launch of Sputnik 1, the first satellite in the world.
He said the shot will be marketed abroad under the brand name of ‘Sputnik V’.
Some scientists are worried over the speed with which the government has approved the vaccine even before the final stages of clinical trials regarding safety and efficacy are over. They believe that Kremlin has placed national prestige before safety.
However, Putin dismissed those concerns saying the shot developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute was safe and that one of his daughters had received the vaccine.
“I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks,” said Putin.
Putin said he hoped mass production would begin soon.
The shot got the government approval before the beginning of the much larger Phase III trial involving thousands of volunteers.
Moscow-based Association of Clinical Trials Organizations (ACTO), which represents the world’s top pharmaceutical companies in Russia, urged the health ministry to put on hold the approval for the vaccine until the final stage was over.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field