Uncertainty Surrounds Russian Vaccine Candidate

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Russian President Vladimir Putin says a locally produced Covid-19 vaccine has been given regulatory approval. All of the regulatory checks have been passed and they plan to start mass vaccination in October.

The WHO believes they may be working too quickly and are not following international guidelines.  The vaccine candidate, named Sputnik-V, is not among the WHO’s list of six vaccines that have reached phase three clinical trial.

The vaccine was developed by Gamaleya Institute in Moscow, and President Putin has said the vaccine grants sustainable immunity against Covid-19. It has also been reported that his own daughter has received the vaccine. Mr. Putin said, “I think in this sense she took part in the experiment.  After the first injection her temperature was 38 degrees, the next day 37.5, and that was it. After the second injection her temperature went up slightly, then back to normal.”

The vaccine candidate has not gone through a phase three trial, meaning a larger study involving large amounts of humans, yet the Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Tuesday that the vaccine had “proven to be highly effective and safe”. The Gamaleya Institute has not released ay safety data regarding the vaccine. 

The WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told reporters, “Sometimes individual researchers claim they have found something, which is of course, as such, great news. But between finding or having a clue of maybe having a vaccine that works, and having gone through all the stages, is a big difference.”

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