Russian officials have confirmed to CNN that they are working to approve the Covid-19 vaccine, developed by the Moscow-based Gamalay Institute, as early as August 10 or even earlier.
The vaccine will be approved for public use and will first be received by healthcare professionals.
The vaccine development process is funded by the Russian Direct Investment Fund. Its director general, Kirill Dmitryev, has compared the development of the vaccine and its planned approval to Moscow’s success in launching the Earth’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik-1, in 1957. “This is Sputnik’s moment. The Americans were surprised to hear Sputnik’s signal. It’s the same with this vaccine. Russia will be the first,” Dmitry promised.
However, Russia has not published any scientific data on the testing of these vaccines, so it is impossible to verify their safety or effectiveness. Critics say the Kremlin is putting pressure on it to portray Russia as a global scientific force. There are also concerns that testing of the vaccine in humans has not been completed.
Dozens of vaccine trials are taking place around the world, but most developers have warned that there is still a lot of work to be done before vaccines can be approved.
While some global vaccines are already in the third phase of testing, the Russian vaccine has yet to complete the second phase. The developers plan to complete this phase by 3 August and then carry out a third screening phase, in parallel with the vaccination of medical staff.
The Russian Ministry of Defense has announced that Russian soldiers have volunteered to test the vaccine on humans. Project director Alexander Ginsburg has also told CNN that he has already injected the vaccine himself.
Officials say scientific data is currently being compiled and will be available for review and publication in early August.
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To date, more than 827 thousand cases of Covid-19 have been officially registered in Russia. 13,642 people died of the disease.
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