Days after registering “world’s first COVID-19 vaccine”, Russia will finally start the advanced trial. The phase III trial will involve more than 40,000 people, the TASS news agency reported on Thursday.
Russia on August 11 declared that it had become the first country to approve a vaccine against novel coronavirus. Dubbed as Sputnik V, the vaccine was developed by Gamaleya Research Institute and the Russian defence ministry. Russia registered the vaccine after less than two months of human testing. The results of the initial trials have not been made public yet.
Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that one of his daughters had been inoculated with the vaccine. “I know it has proven efficient and forms a stable immunity, and I would like to repeat that it has passed all the necessary tests,” Putin said.
However, the entire world raised question on safety and effectiveness of the vaccine developed by Russia. Russia health ministry said that the COVID-19 vaccine offers lasting immunity from the virus. The vaccine is expected to provide immunity from the coronavirus for up to two years, according to health ministry.
Clinical human studies started on June 17 among 76 volunteers. Half were injected with a vaccine in liquid form and the other half with a vaccine that came as soluble powder. Professor Alexander Gintsburg, head of the Gamaleya Institute that developed the vaccine, said that vaccination will start while the Phase III trials continue.
WHO begins discussion with Russia on COVID-19 vaccine
The World Health Organization’s Europe office said it has begun discussions with Russia to try to obtain more information about the experimental COVID-19 vaccine the country recently approved. Catherine Smallwood, a senior emergency official at WHO Europe said the agency had begun “direct discussions” with Russia and that WHO officials have been sharing “the various steps and information that’s going to be required for WHO to take assessments.”
“This concern that we have around safety and efficacy is not specifically for the Russia vaccine, it’s for all of the vaccines under development,” said Smallwood. She acknowledged WHO was taking an “accelerated approach” to try to speed development of coronavirus vaccines but said “it’s essential we don’t cut corners in safety or efficacy.”
Russian officials said doctors might start getting vaccinated with their experimental shot this month and that mass campaigns could begin in October.