Putin announces Russia has approved world’s first Covid-19 vaccine

By Bernardo Suarez Indart

Moscow, Aug 11 (efe-epa).- Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Tuesday the country has approved the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine.

He said the inoculation developed by Russian scientists is effective, safe and gives a “stable immunity” against the new coronavirus.

“As far as I know, this morning for the first time in the world a vaccine against the novel coronavirus infection was registered,” Putin told ministers in a cabinet meeting broadcast on state television.

He said the vaccine, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, has passed all the necessary tests and that one of his daughters was given a dose during clinical trials.

“I know this very well, because one of my daughters got vaccinated, so in this sense, she took part in testing,” he added.

The leader continued that the medication “generates a stable antibody and cellular immunity”.

Putin said that after the first injection his daughter’s body temperature rose to 38C and the next day it dropped to almost 37C.

“And then, after the second shot, she had a slight fever again, and then everything was fine, she is feeling well and has a high (antibody) count,” he added.

Putin said many of the people given the inoculation did not have any type of reaction.

Gamaleya Institute director Alexander Ginzburg said he did not know that one of the Russian president’s daughters had been vaccinated.

The vaccine was registered under the name Gam-COVID-Vac and gives prolonged immunity when injected twice, according to Russian health chiefs.

It has been named Sputnik V after the first man-made satellite launched by the Soviet Union, according to an official website launched on Tuesday.

Russia’s health minister Mikhail Murashko said it will be produced in Russia on two sites.

Health experts have raised concerns about how quickly the vaccine was developed and whether it has been fully tested.

The World Health Organization urged Russia last week to follow international guidelines for producing a vaccine and that any approval from the group would require a rigorous safety data review.

“We are in close contact with Russian health authorities and discussions are ongoing with respect to possible WHO pre-qualification of the vaccine,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told reporters in Geneva at an online press briefing.

“Pre-qualification of any vaccine includes the rigorous review and assessment of all the required safety and efficacy data.”

Winning the race for an effective vaccine against the disease that has killed more than 735,000 people around the world would not only be a solution to the biggest pandemic in a century but also have huge political and economic benefits.

Russian deputy prime minister Tatyana Golikova said the vaccine will be available by the end of August or beginning of September.

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