Russia’s newly approved coronavirus vaccine will be called Sputnik V, in homage to the Soviet Union’s Cold War-era satellite program.
- Russian says the vaccine is safe and there has been demand from foreign countries
- But experts say approving the vaccine so early is dangerous
- The vaccine still needs to go to a larger trial, involving thousands of participants
President Vladimir Putin announced Russia had become the first country to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, a move Moscow likened to its success in the space race.
Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including:
Russians (русские, russkiye), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries
Rossiyane (россияне), Russian language term for all citizens and people of Russia, regardless of ethnicity
Russophone, Russian-speaking person (русскоговорящий, русскоязычный, russkogovoryashchy, russkoyazychny)
Russian language, the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages
Russian studiesRussian may also refer to:
The Russians, a book by Hedrick Smith
Russian (comics), fictional Marvel Comics supervillain from The Punisher series
Russian (solitaire), a card game
“Russians” (song), from the album The Dream of the Blue Turtles by Sting
“Russian”, from the album Tubular Bells 2003 by Mike Oldfield
Nik Russian, the perpetrator of a con committed in 2002
Something related to the Russian Empire or Soviet Union
Russian coronavirus vaccine to be named Sputnik V, President …
Coronaviruses are a group of related RNA viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans and birds, they cause respiratory tract infections that can range from mild to lethal. Mild illnesses in humans include some cases of the common cold (which is also caused by other viruses, predominantly rhinoviruses), while more lethal varieties can cause SARS, MERS, and COVID-19. In cows and pigs they cause diarrhea, while in mice they cause hepatitis and encephalomyelitis. There are as yet no vaccines or antiviral drugs to prevent or treat human coronavirus infections.
Coronaviruses constitute the subfamily Orthocoronavirinae, in the family Coronaviridae, order Nidovirales, and realm Riboviria. They are enveloped viruses with a positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome and a nucleocapsid of helical symmetry. The genome size of coronaviruses ranges from approximately 26 to 32 kilobases, one of the largest among RNA viruses. They have characteristic club-shaped spikes that project from their surface, which in electron micrographs create an image reminiscent of the solar corona, from which their name derives.
The vaccine has, however, not yet completed its final trials and Russia’s announcement to grant approval before then has raised concerns among some experts.
Only about 10 per cent of clinical trials are successful, and some scientists fear Moscow may be putting national prestige before safety.
Russian coronavirus vaccine to be named Sputnik V, President …
Mr Putin and other officials have insisted the vaccine is safe.
The President said one of his daughters had taken it as a volunteer, and felt good afterwards.
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“I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the necessary checks,” Mr Putin told a government meeting.
Russian business conglomerate Sistema expects to put the vaccine, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, into mass production by the end of the year.
Government officials have said it will be administered to medical personnel, and then to teachers, on a voluntary basis at the end of this month or in early September. Mass roll-out in Russia is expected to start in October.
The vaccine is administered in two doses and consists of two serotypes of a human adenovirus, each carrying an S-antigen of the new coronavirus, which enter human cells and produce an immune response.
The platform used for the vaccine was developed by Russian scientists over two decades and formed the basis for several vaccines in the past, including those against Ebola, Russian officials said.
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Authorities hope it will allow the Russian economy, which has been battered by fallout from the virus, to return to full capacity.
Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, said Russia had already received foreign requests for 1 billion doses. He said the vaccine was also expected to be produced in Brazil.
Mr Dmitriev said clinical trials were expected to start soon in the United Arab Emirates and the Philippines. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he was willing to participate personally.
Brazil’s Parana state announced it was in talks with Russia to produce the vaccine, but it was unclear if the state’s research institute would get regulatory approval in Brazil.
Any production arrangement in Brazil would require approval by health regulator Anvisa. The agency said it had not yet received a request to authorise the Russian vaccine, and that it could not comment on its safety or effectiveness before receiving data from the laboratory responsible for development.
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Ivo Bucaresky, a former Anvisa director, urged caution, given the speed of the Russian vaccine’s development and incomplete testing.
“I would be afraid of Russia’s vaccine,” Dr Bucaresky said in a telephone interview.
“The Russian Government was very bold, if not to say irresponsible, to put out a vaccine that had hardly been tested to vaccinate its population.”
Top US infectious disease official Anthony Fauci said he had not heard any evidence that the vaccine was ready for widespread use.
“I hope that the Russians have actually definitively proven that the vaccine is safe and effective. I seriously doubt that they’ve done that,” Dr Fauci, who is a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said.
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US Health Secretary Alex Azar, asked about Russia’s announcement, said safety was paramount and late-stage trials were key.
He said the United States was on track for an effective vaccine by the end of the year, with six candidates under development.
“The point is not to be first with a vaccine. The point is to have a vaccine that is safe and effective,” Mr Azar said.
More than 100 possible COVID-19 vaccines are being developed around the world.
At least four are in final Phase III human trials, according to WHO data.
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