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Russia approves first Covid-19 vaccine, says Putin

Russia approves first Covid-19 vaccine, says Putin

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Move paves the way for mass inoculation even as final stages of trials to test safety and efficacy continue.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia had become the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval to a Covid-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, a move hailed by Moscow as evidence of its scientific prowess.

The development paves the way for the mass inoculation of the Russian population, even as the final stage of clinical trials to test safety and efficacy continue.

The speed at which Russia is moving to roll out its vaccine highlights its determination to win the global race for an effective product, but has stirred concerns that it may be putting national prestige before sound science and safety.

DUTERTE HAS HUGE TRUST IN RUSSIA VACCINE
The Philippines has among Asia’s highest numbers of coronavirus infections, which rose to 136,638 on Monday after a record daily jump of 6,958 cases.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has lauded Russia’s efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine and is willing to participate in trials, as he welcomed a supply offer from Moscow that he expects will be free of charge.

Russia’s health ministry has given regulatory approval for the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, after less than two months of human testing, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

The Philippines has among Asia’s highest numbers of coronavirus infections, which rose to 136,638 on Monday after a record daily jump of 6,958 cases.

“I will tell President (Vladimir) Putin that I have huge trust in your studies in combating Covid and I believe that the vaccine that you have produced is really good for humanity,” Duterte said on television late on Monday.

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Speaking at a government meeting on state television, Putin said the vaccine, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, was safe and that it had even been administered to one of his daughters.

“I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks,” said Putin.

He said he hoped the country would soon start mass producing the vaccine.

Its approval by the health ministry foreshadows the start of a larger trial involving thousands of participants, commonly known as a Phase III trial.

Such trials, which require a certain rate of participants catching the virus to observe the vaccine’s effect, are normally considered essential precursors for a vaccine to receive regulatory approval.

Regulators around the world have insisted that the rush to develop Covid-19 vaccines will not compromise safety. But recent surveys show growing public distrust in governments’ efforts to rapidly produce such a vaccine.

Russian health workers treating Covid-19 patients will be offered the chance of volunteering to be vaccinated soon after the vaccine’s approval, a source told Reuters last month.

More than 100 possible vaccines are being developed around the world to try to stop the Covid-19 pandemic. At least four are in final Phase III human trials, according to WHO data.

 

© Khaleej Times | Photo by Reuters