But officials told CNN that “the US is not currently open” to Russian medical advances.
“There is a general sense of distrust of Russia on the part of the United States, and we believe that technologies – including vaccines, testing and treatments – are not being adopted in the United States because of that distrust,” a senior Russian official told CNN.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Thursday that President Donald Trump has been briefed on the new Russian vaccine. She said US vaccines go through “rigorous” stage 3 testing and high standards.
Other U.S. officials told CNN that the Russian vaccine was considered so semi-mature in the United States that it had not even dropped US interest in a serious way before it took over the country. “There is no way in hell. The United States is testing this (Russian vaccine) on monkeys, let alone humans,”; said a U.S. government health official.
The race to find an effective vaccine – more than 20 are on trial around the world – has global implications, not only for the health of billions of people, but potentially billions in revenue for a successful developer and manufacturer.
Russia says US firms are interested
Russian officials tell CNN that Russia is open to exchanging information about the vaccine and would allow US pharmaceutical companies to produce the Russian vaccine on American soil.
CNN previously reported that Russia says some US pharmaceutical companies are interested in learning about the Russian vaccine, though the names of the firms have not been disclosed.
Following opposition from the United States, Russian sources say Washington should “seriously consider approving” the vaccine, telling CNN that the newly approved Russian coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, could save America’s life.
“If our vaccine proves to be one of the most effective, questions will be raised as to why the US did not explore this deeper option, why politics took the path of getting into a vaccine,” a senior Russian official told CNN.
CNN has contacted the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and Operation Warp Speed for comment.
Russia’s sovereign wealth fund said at a news conference on Tuesday that at least 20 countries in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia have expressed interest in the vaccine. In particular, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says he has so much confidence in the vaccine that he will receive it when he arrives in his country, and Mexico’s foreign minister said Thursday morning that Mexico is in “talks” with Russia over with the vaccine.
No test data were published
Developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute, the vaccine was approved by the Russian government before the start of the crucial Phase 3 trials in which it would be administered to thousands of people. Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), announced earlier this week that phase 3 vaccine trials would begin this Wednesday in Russia.
Russia has not released any scientific data in its testing and CNN is unable to verify the required safety or effectiveness of the vaccine.
A senior U.S. official and a U.S. government adviser tell CNN that there are no purchased samples of the newly announced Russia-owned Covid-19 vaccine owned by the U.S. government.
“They have enough disease now in Russia to be able to conduct clinical trials, but they do not seem to have done it on a large enough scale,” the government adviser told CNN on condition of anonymity. “It has not been tested for this vaccine. They have done very little work on humans to decide if it works on a larger scale. We are talking about completely inadequate safety data.”
Russia passed a law in April which eliminated the requirement for pre-trial Phase 3 substantive trials. This has allowed researchers to quickly follow the vaccine development process.
“There is all this discussion about Emergency Use Authorization – in the case of a pandemic, there are a number of points where you can make a judgment to say that the potential benefits of this vaccine outweigh the risks, so we give it “This is basically what Russia did. It’s the October surprise that we all fear,” said the top US official.
“But ultimately, the risks are enormous. Intervention in this country would be terrible,” the senior US official added.
Russia’s coronavirus vaccine will be gradually distributed to high-risk people before a mass vaccination of Russians begins in October.
A former senior US administration official called the Russian vaccine a “joke”, adding that Russia had not completed all three phases of testing, and so no one – not the World Health Organization or the US – was taking it too far. seriously. The source went on to say that China is “much closer to victory in the vaccine race”.
U.S. government officials and government advisers told CNN that they believe China is much more serious and responsible with its testing. “China is desperate to join the world of normal reaction and regulation, and they are trying to do that,” said one official.
US sources noted that they believe that the only reason Russia is doing this is to profit – mainly, in the hope of exchanging it for strategic assets. Putin, like Trump, is under considerable pressure to demonstrate tremendous efforts to defeat the virus.
“No one will dare ask him (Putin) and Russian efficiency standards do not match those of the US,” said a former official.
This story was reported and written by Matthew Chance and Zahra Ullah in Moscow, and Vivian Salama in Washington DC.