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Russia develops first coronavirus vaccine, criticism emerges

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According to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, the world’s first coronavirus vaccine has been developed by the Nikolay Gamaleya Institute of Epidemiological and Microbiological Research and was named after Sputnik V, the first satellite sent into space by the Soviet Union, iDnes reported on Tuesday. Putin specifically stated that the vaccine was given to his daughter.

The vaccine could be available as early as next month, but according to the Russian Minister of Health, Mikhail Murashko, front-line workers such as those in healthcare and education should be given the first doses.

According to the Russian news agency, TASS, the vaccine is intended to be available to the general public on January 1. TASS also reports that 20 countries already requested a total of one billion doses. According to the Russian Federal Service for Surveillance in Healthcare, the vaccine produced no significant side-effects during the two phases of clinical trials, which took place in June and July.

The vaccine was tested for two months before concluding its clinical trials, which has raised some concerns from scientists about the safety of the vaccine. The World Health Organization said the vaccine must meet international standards for vaccine development and it is undergoing negotiations with the appropriate Russian authorities in order to evaluate the vaccine.

The spokesperson for the German Health Ministry also stated that “There is no known data on the quality, efficacy and safety of the Russian vaccine,” and that European Union can only accept the vaccine after the clinical trials are fully completed.

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