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Putin says Russia has announced world’s first Covid-19 vaccine

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the approval of a coronavirus vaccine for use on Tuesday, amid continued concern and unanswered questions over its safety and effectiveness with critics claiming that the country’s push for the vaccine is partly due to political  pressure from Kremlin, which is keen to portray Russia as a global scientific force.

Putin added that one of his daughters had already taken it and was finally feeling well,despite a rise in temperate after a each dose. 

The vaccine,Sputnik-V, was named after a reference to the 1957 launch of the world’s first satellite by the Soviet Union. Sputnik-V uses adapted strains of the adenovirus– a virus that usually causes the common cold–to trigger an immune response. However,despite its approval by Russian regulators,it is yet to go through crucial phase 3 trials where it would be administered to thousands of people,an essential part of the testing process.
Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is funding the vaccine research, said interest from other countries for over a billion doses of the vaccine had been received.
“We’ve seen considerable interest in the Russian vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Institute abroad. Moreover, we have received preliminary applications for over 1 billion doses of the vaccine from 20 countries,” he said Monday.
“Along with our foreign partners, we are already prepared to manufacture over 500 million doses of vaccine per year in five countries, and the plan is to ramp up production capacity even higher. So far, countries in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia have displayed the greatest interest in the vaccine, and we are about to finalize a number of contracts for the purchase of the vaccine.”
Dmitriev said Phase 3 trials of the vaccine would start Wednesday in Russia, and that they would also take place in other countries.
“We have already reached agreements on conducting the relevant trials of the Gamaleya vaccine with partners from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and a number of other countries,” he said.
Vials containing the two components of Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik-V
Russia is not the only country rushing to produce a vaccine for Covid-19.There are 25 other vaccines in the clinical evaluation stage of development and a further 139 candidate vaccines in the preclinical evaluation stage according to the World Health Organization.
Closely watched vaccines in development include one from the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca and another from the biotechnology company Moderna and the US National Institute of Health. Both have showed promising results and are currently undergoing Phase 3 testing.
The Chinese government also approved the use of an experimental coronavirus vaccine for the country’s military in June. The vaccine, known as Ad5-nCoV, was jointly-developed by the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology, part of the Chinese government’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences, and vaccine company CanSino Biologics.
Previous results of Ad5-nCoV trials, published in medical journal the Lancet, were met with a lukewarm response by experts.
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