Doctors have raised concerns due to a lack of testing data on this vaccine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced this morning that Russian medical researchers from the Gamaleya Institute in Moscow had successfully created the world’s first vaccine against the coronavirus and COVID-19.
“A vaccine against coronavirus has been registered for the first time in the world this morning,” Putin said on Russian state TV. “I know that it works quite effectively, it forms a stable immunity.”
The vaccine has been named “Sputnik-V,” a reference to the famous Sputnik satellite launched by the Russian space program in 1957. Putin went on to say that a dose of the vaccine has already been administered to one of his daughters, and that she is currently in good health.
However, despite Putin’s claims, the release of Sputnik-V has been met with caution and criticism from the global medical community. Reports have indicated that the vaccine skipped phase 3 testing, human testing, wholesale, which means there is no available data on any potential side effects or hazards to human health. Critics of the vaccine’s launch have said that the corners were cut in order to accelerate the vaccine’s release, thereby portraying Russia as a global scientific and medical force.
“It is unclear precisely what is actually happening with the Russian vaccine,” Michael Head, Senior Research Fellow in Global Health at the University of Southampton in the UK, told the Science Medical Centre. “It is vital that any vaccine roll-out has the confidence of the general public, and that there is good communication of the level of effectiveness and any likely side effects. At this point in time, there is no data on the Russian-led vaccine for the global health community to scrutinize.”
Despite criticism, Russia has reported that 20 countries have already signed orders for over 1 billion doses of the vaccine to be delivered.
“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,” said Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund.
Phase 3 testing of Sputnik-V will begin alongside the vaccine’s roll-out.