Putin touts Russia's COVID-19 vaccine as effective and safe

The Russian president on Thursday praised a coronavirus a vaccine that Russia approved to be used’ earlier this month as effective and safe, a transparent bid to deal with international skepticism about the shots that have only been studied for 2 months during a few dozen people.

Putin touts Russia's COVID-19 vaccine as effective and safe

In an interview with the state Russia 24 channel released Thursday, President Putin insisted that the world’s first vaccine against coronavirus to receive a government go-ahead was approved “in strict accordance with Russian laws” that are in line with “international practice and regulations.”

The claim comes after scientists round the world sounded the alarm about the fast-tracked approval and Russia’s failure to share any data supporting claims of the vaccine’s efficacy, saying it had been a serious breach of scientific protocol.

“It is totally obvious for our specialists today that this vaccine forms lasting immunity ... and it's safe,” Putin said.

He said one among his daughters has already been vaccinated, developed antibodies and is feeling well, but Russian authorities offered no scientific evidence to prove these claims.

International experts say any widely used vaccine should first be tested’ in advanced trials involving tens of thousands of individuals to prove it's safe and effective before being licensed. Scientists at the planet Health Organization said that although they need begun discussions with Russia about its vaccine, that they had not yet received any detailed data about it.

Experts warn that using an untested vaccine that has not yet proven to be safe or effective could ultimately undermine the response to the pandemic and cause more distrust among people about whether or to not be’ vaccinated.

The Russian vaccine named Sputnik-V — a regard to the Soviet Union’s launch of the world’s first satellite in 1957 — has thus far been tested’ on two groups of 38 volunteers each, consistent with Russia's Health Ministry.

Russian authorities have repeatedly promised that advanced trials of the vaccine will continue after it's approved’ and can involve 1,600 volunteers. But following a wave of international criticism, Russian health officials have issued permission to start out advanced trials with 40,000 volunteers.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin on Wednesday invited residents of the Moscow to check in for the study, calling it "a unique chance to become the most participants in clinical research which will help defeat the coronavirus.”

It remains unclear whether the vaccination of risk groups like doctors and teachers, which was announced’ earlier, are going to be a part of the trials or administered in parallel.

Earlier this year Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova promised to start out “industrial production” of the vaccine in September and Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said mass vaccinations may begin in October.

The vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Institute in Moscow with assistance from Russia’s Defense Ministry uses a special virus — the common cold-causing adenovirus — that’s been modified’ to hold genes for the “spike” protein that coats the coronavirus, as how to prime the body to acknowledge if a true COVID-19 infection comes along.

That’s an identical technology to vaccines being developed by China’s CanSino Biologics and Britain’s Oxford University and AstraZeneca — but unlike those companies, Russian scientists haven’t published any scientific information about how the vaccine has performed in animal tests or in early-stage human studies.

Becoming the primary country within the world to approve a vaccine may be a matter of national prestige for the Kremlin because it tries to say the image of Russia as a worldwide power.

Putin has repeatedly praised Russia’s effective response to the outbreak in televised addresses, while a number of Moscow’s top officials — including the country’s prime minister and Putin’s own spokesperson — became a number of the country's over 970,000 confirmed cases.

Last month, the U.S., Britain, and Canada accused Russia of using hackers to steal vaccine research from Western labs. Russia has denied involvement.

Several vaccines, including those developed by Oxford and therefore the U.S. National Institutes of Health, are in advanced testing and hope to possess results later this year.

Several Russian research institutions are performing on other virus vaccines also, and Putin said Thursday that another vaccine could also be “ready” in September.

Russia has reported over 16,750 coronavirus-related deaths, but experts say truth toll of the pandemic is far above all reported’ figures, thanks to limited testing, missed mild cases and concealment of cases by some governments, among other factors.


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