Russia launches world's first Covid-19 vaccine; Putin's daughter gets first jab
12 August 2020
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday launched the country’s first coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine, 'Sputnik V', touted as the world’s first to be registered as a vaccine against the novel coronavirus.
Russia has emerged the first country in the world to launch the first-ever vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, which, Putin called a 'very important step for the world'.
“This morning, for the first time in the world, a vaccine against the new coronavirus was registered,” The Moscow Times quoted Putin as saying in a televised cabinet session broadcast. “I know that it’s effective and forms sustainable immunity,” he said.
One of Putin’s daughters has been among those to first receive the vaccine shots.
The vaccine, a viral vector vaccine against Covid-19, has been developed by the state-run Gamaleya Microbiology Research Centre.
The vaccine entered clinical studies on 18 June and moved into phase 3 trials last week. The Phase 3 clinical trials will be held in many countries, including India, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Brazil and the Philippines. This will be followed by mass production in other countries in partnership with local financing companies.
“The countries identified include India besides South Korea, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Cuba,” said CEO of Russia Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) Kirill Dmitriev.
The plan is to ramp up the vaccine production to 200 million doses by the end of 2020, excluding 300 million doses in Russia, said Dmitriev whose fund was performing a critical function of bankrolling the research.
India was among the first lot of 20 countries that had expressed interest in obtaining the Sputnik V, he said.
Russia’s health ministry, last week, announced plans to begin mass production of the vaccine in September and launch a mass vaccination drive in October.
Nikolay Briko, the Russian health ministry's chief epidemiologist, told Sputnik that there is no need to delay the registration of the Gamaleya Microbiology Research Centre’s Covid-19 vaccine as the technology used to make the jab was earlier practiced while making vaccines for other diseases such as Ebola and the Middle East respiratory syndrome.
A Bloomberg report, meanwhile, said Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted Russia’s offer of its Covid-19 vaccine, volunteering to be the first person to get the shot.
With almost 900,000 coronavirus infections, Russia is reported to have the world’s fourth-highest COVID-19 caseload.