Wednesday, September 23, 2020
banner
Home /  World  /  Russia claims ‘world’s first’ COVID-19 vaccine as global cases top 20 million

Russia claims ‘world’s first’ COVID-19 vaccine as global cases top 20 million

Russia claims ‘world’s first’ COVID-19 vaccine as global cases top 20 million

AFP
Moscow
Russia claimed on Tuesday it has developed the world’s first vaccine offering “sustainable immunity” against the coronavirus, as the pandemic marked another bleak milestone with 20 million infections globally.
Western scientists have raised concerns about the speed with which Russia has developed vaccines, suggesting that researchers might be cutting corners.
And the World Health Organization on Tuesday warned that any approval of the Russian vaccine would require rigorous review of data to show its safety and efficacy.
But President Vladimir Putin said that one of his own daughters had received the inoculation, dubbed “Sputnik” after the pioneering 1950s Soviet satellite
“I know that it is quite effective, that it gives sustainable immunity,” Putin said of the vaccine developed by the Gamaleya research institute in coordination with Moscow’s defence ministry.
And Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said that clinical trials of the vaccine involving several thousand participants would continue.
Russia hopes to begin production in September and start vaccinating medical staff immediately afterwards.
Kirill Dmitriyev, the head of the Russian sovereign wealth fund that helped develop the vaccine, said the doubts about the vaccines were part of “coordinated and carefully orchestrated media attacks” designed to “discredit” the country.
He said that 20 foreign countries have pre-ordered over a billion doses.
The race for a vaccine is heating up as nations across the globe brace for new outbreaks of the disease -- even as they try to restart economies battered by months of lockdown.
According to an AFP tally, the number of confirmed infections worldwide has passed 20.1 million, with almost 737,000 deaths, with that number expected to surpass 750,000 within days.
Elsewhere, Indonesia said it would launch a Phase 3 human trial of a vaccine candidate from China’s Sinovac Biotech.
Phase 3 refers to trials involving large numbers of human test subjects and is usually the last step before regulatory approval.
Sinovac’s vaccine, dubbed CoronaVac, is already being tested on 9,000 Brazilian health workers.
The WHO says that 165 candidate vaccines are being worked on around the world, with six reaching Phase 3.
But the WHO’s emergencies director Michael Ryan warned that finding a vaccine would not automatically spell the end for COVID-19.
“We have perfectly effective polio and measles vaccines, and we still struggle to eradicate or eliminate those diseases. You’ve got to be able to deliver that vaccine to a population that want and demand to have that vaccine,” he said.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has pointed to “green shoots of hope” in countries that had successfully clamped down on COVID-19, such as Rwanda and New Zealand.

Pages