COVID-19 : Russia Unveils Vacine, Billion Doses Ordered

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Russia has claimed to have produced the world’s first vaccine offering “sustainable immunity” against  coronavirus (COVID-19) 

The Russian President, Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that  the vaccine was safe and that one of his daughters had received the inoculation, dubbed “Sputnik V” after the pioneering 1950s Soviet satellite.

“I know that it is quite effective, that it gives sustainable immunity. And I repeat, it has passed all the necessary checks,” Putin said of the vaccine developed by the Gamaleya research institute in collaboration with Moscow’s Ministry of Defence.

He  told a government meeting that  his daughter,who took the drug as a volunteer,  feels  good.

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The health ministry  said though clinical trials were not yet complete, final stage testing involving more than 2,000 people was billed to start today.

Western scientists, who had previously raised concerns about the speed of development of Russian vaccines, yesterday feared that  Russian researchers might be cutting corners.

Agence France Presse quoted   World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) spokesman, Tarik Jasarevic, as saying  the world body was in “close contact” with Russian health authorities but that it was too soon for  Sputnik V”   to receive any WHO stamp of approval.

“Pre-qualification of any vaccine includes the rigorous review and assessment of all the required safety and efficacy data,” Jasarevic said.

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WHO says that 165 candidate vaccines are being worked on around the world, with six reaching Phase 3.

Russian business conglomerate, Sistema,  said it expects to put  Sputnik V  into mass production in October.

The vaccine, according to government officials, will be administered to medical personnel and then teachers, on a voluntary basis at the end of this month or in early September.

The vaccine is administered in two doses and consists of two serotypes of a human adenovirus, each carrying an S-antigen of the new Coronavirus, which enter human cells and produce an immune response.

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The platform used for the vaccine was developed by Russian scientists over two decades and had formed the basis for several vaccines in the past, including those against Ebola.

Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, said Moscow had already received foreign requests for one  billion doses. He said the vaccine is also expected to be produced in Brazil.

Dmitriev added that  clinical trials were expected to start soon in the United Arab Emirates and the Philippines.

s safe and effective.”

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