Days after President Vladimir Putin announced Russia to be the first in the world to approve a vaccine for COVID-19, the country has stormed into production of the first batch.
This comes amid apprehensions among scientists and health professionals from across the world, about the lack of sufficient data about it and its super-fast approval.
Russia has produced the first batch of its new vaccine for COVID-19, reported the Interfax news agency on Saturday, hours after the ministry announced the beginning of the manufacturing process.
“The first batch of the novel coronavirus vaccine developed by the Gamaleya research institute has been produced,” the health ministry said in a statement quoted by Russian news agencies.
Some scientists said, they fear that with this fast regulatory approval, Moscow may be putting national prestige before safety amid the global race to develop a vaccine against the disease.
Putin said the vaccine was safe and that one of his own daughters had been inoculated, though clinical trials are not yet complete, and final stage testing involving more than 2,000 people only started this week.
The Russian vaccine is called ‘Sputnik V’ after the Soviet-era satellite that was the first launched into space in 1957.
It was developed by the Gamaleya research institute for epidemiology and microbiology in Moscow, in coordination with the Russian defence ministry.
The head of the institute, Alexander Gintsburg, told the TASS state news agency on Saturday, that volunteers taking part in the final stage testing of the vaccine’s safety and efficacy would have two inoculations.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said it does not have enough information about the vaccine to include it in its group of nine experimental COVID-19 vaccines from across the world, which are currently in the advanced stages of testing, PTI reported. “We’re currently in conversation with Russia to get additional information to understand the status of that product, the trials that have been undertaken and then what the next steps might be,” said Dr. Bruce Aylward, a senior adviser to WHO’s director-general.
The first batch of Sputnik V vaccines against COVID-19 will be administered to health professionals in Russia within two weeks, the countries’ Health Ministry has claimed.
Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, which developed the vaccine, said previously that Russia would be producing about 5 million doses a month by December-January, according to interfax.
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