The first batches of the coronavirus vaccine Russia has approved have been shipped across the country and they’re expected to be delivered by Monday (September 14), the country’s health minister, Mikhail Murashko, has said.
On August 11, Russia approved the Sputnik V vaccine, becoming the first nation to register a potential cure for the ongoing pandemic. It is developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, President Vladimir Putin had said.
“The first batches of the vaccine for testing the supply chain have already been shipped. We are now checking the delivery system so that the staff gets to know it,” Tass news agency quoted the health minister as saying.
“The first samples of the vaccine will be delivered by Monday,” he added.
Health Minister Murashko said the vaccine had shown its effectiveness and safety on the outcomes of clinical trials. However, he added that the use of the vaccine “must be verified at every stage,” so every stage is tested.
The Sputnik V vaccine consists of two shots that use different versions of adenoviruses — virus types some of which cause the common cold — that the manufacturers have engineered to carry the gene for the surface protein, or spike, of SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19.
Russia’s approval for the vaccine had come even before Phase 3 of its trials (which involves testing the vaccine on a large number of people) were over. This had triggered safety concerns among experts.
Peter Charles Doherty, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1996, had said his “big worry” is there could be refusals for other vaccines if doubts over its safety turn out to be true. “The main issues with Sputnik V and, indeed, any SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, are safety and efficacy,” he had earlier said.
Meanwhile, Russian health minister Murashko further said that the clinical studies of the second domestic vaccine against coronavirus are now being completed and tests are proceeding as planned.