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Russia attempts to approve COVID-19 vaccine by mid-August

Updated: Aug 1, 2020

"It's a Sputnik moment,"

-Kirill Dmitriev

MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Russia seeks to register the first coronavirus vaccine by 12th August 2020.

The drug developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology could be approved for civilian use three to seven days after registration by regulators. It is reported that this vaccine has already completed successful human trials.

However, all vaccines are supposed to go through three phases of human trials before being approved. Phase-I is meant to assess the vaccine's safety in human beings and Phase-II tests the vaccine's ability to trigger an immune response. The Gamaleya vaccine has only been through the Phase-I and Phase-II trials, the latter of which began on July 13th and is yet to be completed.

The final phase is conducted on several thousand volunteers who are split into two groups. One group will receive the real vaccine while the other is given a dummy vaccine. The volunteers are then assessed a few weeks or months later to check if they show any resistance to the virus. Hence, this phase can take several months to complete.

Although, the Gamaleya vaccine is set to receive “conditional registration” in August. This means that it will be approved for use while Phase-III trials are carried out simultaneously. Many scientists and health experts have cautioned against registering the vaccine in an impetuous manner, asserting that all safety and efficacy tests ought to be completed before the vaccines receive approval for use.

Russian scientists say that the vaccine has been developed swiftly because it is a modification of one already created to fight other diseases. Officials say that the drug is being fast-tracked for approval because of the global pandemic and due to the country’s severe coronavirus problem. Russia has recorded more than 800,000 confirmed cases.

Russia has released no scientific data on its vaccine testing. No news source has been able to verify the claimed safety and efficiency of the vaccine. Critics allege that the government's push for the approval of the vaccine is politically motivated rather than socio-medically. It is said that with this vaccine, Putin endeavors to establish Russia as a scientific powerhouse.

"Americans were surprised when they heard Sputnik's beeping. It's the same with this vaccine”, said Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia's sovereign wealth fund. Dmitriev has denied that Russia’s vaccine push is compromising safety.

Despite all the praise Russia has fetched, the hasty manner in which it plans to register this vaccine has definitely raised suspicion.

Reporter- Ananya Sreekumar

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