Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the COVID-19 vaccine 'Sputnik V' developed in his country is now registered for public use. The Sputnik V, which the country claims as to the world's first COVID-19 vaccine, was named in reference to a Soviet satellite launched in 1957, which opened space for exploration by mankind.
The Russian president has asked Health Minister Mikhail Murashko to keep him informed about the vaccine.
Russia's health ministry has given regulatory approval for a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moscow's Gamaleya Institute after less than two months of testing on humans, said President Vladimir Putin.
Alexander Gintsburg, Director, Gamaleya National Research Centre, stated coronavirus particles used in the vaccine cannot harm the body as it uses inanimate particles created on the basis of adenovirus. "The particles and objects that can reproduce their own kind are the ones that are considered alive. The particles in question cannot multiply," Gintsburg said. The technology is a vector vaccine based on the DNA of a SARS-CoV-2 type adenovirus.
In Russia's COVID-19 vaccine, the genetic material from the coronavirus has been embedded into the carrier virus for delivering small parts of the pathogen into a human to stimulate an immune response. Gintsburg added some people might experience fever but that can be dealt with by taking paracetamol.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also responded to the country's claim and said that a rigorous review of the vaccine's data needs to be submitted if Russia wants the WHO's stamp of approval. Tarik Jasarevic, a spokesperson for WHO, said, "Pre-qualification of any vaccine includes the rigorous review and assessment of all the required safety and efficacy data."
"We are in close contact with the Russian health authorities and discussions are ongoing with respect to possible WHO pre-qualification of the vaccine," he added.
One of the Russian Health Minister's deputies said the production of Russian COVID-19 vaccine will start in October. The Russian Defence Ministry said that the military volunteers completed the Phase 2 trials in July.
Russian government stated that Russia Development Investment Fund (RDIF) finances the production of the Sputnik V based on production capacities of its portfolio companies - R-Pharm and Binnopharm.
The statement said, "The RDIF (Russian Direct Investment Fund) has seen strong global interest in the vaccine and plans to conduct Phase 3 clinical trials in different countries, including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Brazil, India and Philippines, and start mass production in other countries in partnership with local sovereign wealth funds, including India, South Korea and Brazil, as well as, in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Cuba."
Russia plans to ramp up the vaccine production to 200 million doses by end 2020.