MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia had become the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval for a COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, a move hailed by Moscow as evidence of science. its levels.
SPEAKS PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin discusses the environmental situation in the town of Usolye-Sibirskoye in the Irkutsk region during a conference call with officials at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia July 30, 2020. Sputnik / Alexei Nikolsky / Kremlin via REUTERS
The development paves the way for the mass inoculation of the Russian population, although the final phase of clinical trials to prove safety and efficacy continues.
The speed with which Russia is moving to remove its vaccines underscores its determination to win the global race for an effective product, but has raised concerns that it may be putting national prestige ahead of science and sound safety.
Speaking at a government meeting on state television, Putin said the vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya Institute in Moscow, was safe and had been administered to one of his daughters.
“I know it works quite effectively, it forms strong immunity and I repeat, it has passed all the necessary controls,”; Putin said.
He said he hoped the country would soon start mass production of the vaccine.
Its approval by the health ministry envisions the start of a larger trial involving thousands of participants, commonly known as a phase III.
Such trials, which require a certain degree of participants catching the virus to observe the effect of the vaccine, are normally considered the essential precursors for a vaccine to obtain regulatory approval.
Regulators around the world have insisted that rushing to develop the COVID-19 vaccine would not endanger safety. But recent polls show growing public distrust of governments’ efforts to rapidly produce such a vaccine.
Russian health workers treating COVID-19 patients will be offered the opportunity to volunteer to be vaccinated immediately after the vaccine is approved, a source told Reuters last month.
More than 100 potential vaccines are being developed worldwide, in an effort to stop the COVID-19 pandemic. At least four are in Phase III human trials, according to WHO data.
Reporting by Maxim Rodionov, Vladimir Soldatkin, Polina Ivanova and Alexander Marrow; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Edited by Andrew Osborn