Russia Could Approve World's First Covid-19 Vaccine In Two Weeks
Russia could be about to release its first Covid-19 vaccine, with the hopes of it being administered to frontline health workers in August.
According to Reuters, a source that is part of the development of the new vaccine has said that early human trials of the adenovirus-based vaccine were completed this month at the Gamaleya Institute - a state research facility in Moscow. Large scale trials are expected to start in August.
It will win regulatory approval from authorities in the country while the trial continues - which further pushes concerns among some that authorities in Moscow want Russia to be the first country in the world to approve a vaccine.
Critics are questioning whether the country is putting perceived prestige around finding the vaccine before scientific evidence and safety.
The anonymous source told Reuters: "(Regulatory) approval will be in the first two weeks of August.
"August 10 is the expected date, but it will definitely be before August 15. All (trial) results so far are highly positive."
The head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Kirill Dmitriev, denied that the country is compromising safety in the push to get the vaccine approved.
On Tuesday, Dmitriev said: "The Ministry of Health in Russia is following all necessary strict procedures. No corners are being cut."
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He also said it was similar to how the Soviet Union launched the world's first satellite, Sputnik 1, in 1957.
He added: "Just as Sputnik was the result of very talented Russian scientists... our vaccine research is based on the work of great Russian scientists."
Allegations of Russian hackers trying to steal Covid-19 vaccine research from institutions around the world have been strenuously denied by Moscow .
The news comes after the country recorded 5,475 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, which brings its total number of confirmed cases to almost 829,000.
However, the death toll in Russia currently stands at 13,673, which remains lower than many other countries, who have been hit harder by the virus.
The number of recoveries is now 8,116 for the last day, bringing the total amount of recovered patients to 620,333.
However, The Moscow Times reported there is speculation that the low fatality rate could be down to under-reporting of figures.
Lockdown measures were lifted at the end of last month, just ahead of the referendum on constitutional reforms, which now mean that President Vladimir Putin could remain in power until 2036.
Featured Image Credit: PA