Russia has said that it has manufactured the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine named 'Sputnik-V', which the country claims to be the world's first inoculation. The development comes days after Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement saying that the vaccine is "quite effective" and gives "stable immunity".
The country's health ministry said in a statement on Saturday, as quoted by Russian news agencies, that the first batch of the indigenously developed coronavirus vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya research institute has been produced.
The vaccine 'Sputnik-V' has been named after the Soviet-era satellite launched into space in 1957.
Putin had, on August 11, announced that Russia has approved a vaccine against coronavirus despite the human trials not yet being completed. This has drawn a sceptical response from many countries and researchers alike.
Experts across the world were swift to express concerns regarding the speed of the country's work, with several nations voicing scepticism. Researchers in the US, France, Spain and Germany have all called for caution.
Terming the apprehension "groundless", Russia's Health Minister Mikhail Murashko told the Interfax news agency on Wednesday that the country's "foreign colleagues are sensing the specific competitive advantages of the Russian drug and are trying to express opinions that... are absolutely groundless."
Murashko further stated that the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine will be available "within the next two weeks, primarily for doctors." Meanwhile, Russian officials have said that the mass vaccination will start in October this year.
However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it was holding talks with the Russian authorities about carrying out a review of the vaccine. It is because Russia's inoculation is not among the organisation's list of six vaccines that have made it to Phase 3 human clinical trials, which comprise extensive testing in humans.