President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Russia had become the first country to approve a vaccine offering “sustainable immunity” against the coronavirus and that one of his daughters has been inoculated.
The announcement came after scientists in the West raised concerns about the speed of development of Russian vaccines, suggesting that researchers might be cutting corners after coming under pressure from authorities to deliver.
“This morning, for the first time in the world, a vaccine against the new coronavirus was registered” in Russia, he said during a televised video conference call with government ministers.
“I know that it is quite effective, that it gives sustainable immunity,” he said.
He said one of his daughters had been inoculated with the vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya research institute in coordination with the Russian defense ministry.
“In this sense she took part in the experiment,” Putin said, adding that she had a slight temperature after a second injection and “that’s all”.
“What counts most is for us to be able to ensure the unconditional safety of the use of this vaccine and its efficiency in the future. I hope that this will be accomplished,” Putin said.
Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said that clinical trials involving several thousand participants would continue.
Tatyana Golikova, a deputy prime minister in charge of health issues, said officials hoped that vaccinations of medical staff could begin soon.
“We really hope that the vaccine can be produced in September, or even at the end of August or beginning of September, and the first category to be vaccinated will be medical personnel,” she said, quoted by Russian news agencies.
– Viral vector vaccine –
Russia has been pushing hard to quickly develop a coronavirus vaccine and said earlier this month it hoped to launch mass production within weeks and turn out “several million” doses per month by next year.
The World Health Organization last week urged Russia to follow established guidelines and go “through all the stages” necessary to develop a safe vaccine.
Spokesman Christian Lindmeier told reporters at the time that the WHO had not been officially notified of any Russian vaccine on the verge of being deployed.
The pandemic has seen an unprecedented mobilization of funding and research to rush through a vaccine that can protect billions of people worldwide.
The vaccine developed by Russia is a so-called viral vector vaccine, meaning it employs another virus to carry the DNA encoding of the needed immune response into cells.
Gamaleya’s vaccine is based on the adenovirus, a similar technology to the coronavirus vaccine prototype developed by China’s CanSino.
The state-run Gamaleya institute came under fire after researchers and its director injected themselves with the prototype several months ago, with specialists criticizing the move as an unorthodox and rushed way of starting human trials.
Moscow has dismissed allegations from Britain, the United States and Canada that a hacking group linked to Russian intelligence services tried to steal information about a coronavirus vaccine from labs in the West.
With more than 897,000 confirmed infections, Russia’s coronavirus caseload is currently fourth in the world after the United States, Brazil and India.
© 2020 AFP
The FDA repeatedly stood up to Trump on coronavirus — and even won some victories: NYT
President Donald J. Trump has repeatedly tried to undermine the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) and now, with just two weeks until Election Day, the world is learning more about the behind-the-scenes battles that have shaken these governmental entities to the core.
Approximately two weeks after Trump's release from Walter Reed Medical Center, there is no "cure," as the president stated, and he is not "immune." No one is immune - and there is no successful vaccine, regardless of how much Trump claims one will arrive before Nov. 3. The F.D.A. published the guidelines in briefing materials to an advisory committee that will discuss them on Thursday, effectively making them official. To be clear, the F.D.A.has not approved Trump's miraculous cure of a cocktail - even though he has claimed differently.
Lawmakers more optimistic on COVID stimulus as election day looms
Chances for approving a new spending package to support the US economy improved dramatically on Tuesday after the senior Democratic lawmaker said a bill is in the works and the top Senate Republican said he would bring it to a vote.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Bloomberg TV that legislators are starting to commit the measure to paper and she is optimistic it can win bipartisan support.
Whether policymakers can complete the negotiations in time for Congress to approve the package before the November 3 presidential election, however, remains a question mark.
"Our economy needs it. Hopefully by the end of the day today, we will know where we are," she said in an interview. "We are starting to write the bill."
‘Trump is too stupid to realize he may get to his most feared number on COVID-19 deaths’: Keith Olbermann
Host and progressive paragon Keith Olbermann has been issuing "worst person in the world" videos in which he makes a new case each week that President Donald Trump is the worst person and why.
He began by citing that COVID-19 is continuing to surge, with the astounding number of just over a 30 percent increase in the past two weeks. In Texas, hospitalizations are up 35 percent in as many weeks. Even the first lady can't get over her symptoms of the virus
"We could be just a month -- perhaps just days -- away from the exact same nightmarish, healthcare scenes and draconian closures and even lockdowns that snuck up on the proactively stupid, the psychotically self-absorbed, and the criminally negligent murders -- you know, on Donald Trump," he explained.