In its latest move, Russia has become the first country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, and the same was announced by President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, a Reuter report said. The vaccine has been developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institue and subjected to two months of human testing before getting the green light.
It will be named “Sputnik,” which was also the name of Russia’s first orbital satellite, according to Kirill Dmitriev, who heads the Russian investment fund that provided financial aid to the vaccine development.
After the vaccine enters mass production, it will be used to inoculate people, starting with the Russian population, followed by some other parts of the world. Putin has assured that vaccine boosts immunity, and it’s even used to inoculate one of his daughters.
“I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks.”
However, Russia’s fast-paced approval has raised concerns across the globe as many fear the hastiness to release a COVID-19 vaccine might bring something ineffective or not adequately tested. Speaking of which Russia’s vaccine is yet to enter mass human trials (Phase-III) where it will be tested on thousands of humans to study the effects in further detail.
As far as initial testing is concerned, the Gamaleya vaccine has been given to a rather small subset of people, including the scientists who created it, 50 Russian military members, and some volunteers.
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Moreover, the vaccine is still considered in Phase-I by the World Health Organisation (WHO). While around 100 vaccines are being developed globally, according to WHO data, at least four of them are under final Phase III human trials.
Its spokesman Christian Lindmeier said that a vaccine should go into various trials before its licensed for rollout, and there is a big difference “between finding or having a clue of maybe having a vaccine that works, and having gone through all the stages,” he added.