Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Russia announces world's first coronavirus vaccine, which offers 'two years' immunity'

Vladimir Putin claimed today that Russia has a coronavirus vaccine and said one of his daughters has already been injected - prompting widespread scepticism because the jab has not yet passed clinical trials.  

Putin announced that Russia had become the first country to register a vaccine, claiming it has 'passed all the necessary tests' and offers two years of immunity against Covid-19.

The Russian leader, 67, said one of his daughters had already developed antibodies and said her side-effects were no worse than a high temperature. 

Russian officials have said that large-scale production of the vaccine will start in September and mass vaccination may begin as early as October, with Putin claiming that 20 countries have already ordered a billion doses of it. 

Governments and scientists around the world are desperate for an effective vaccine, which is seen as the only certain way of bringing the pandemic to a standstill.  

However, experts have already sounded the alarm about the effectiveness of Putin's vaccine because the usually months-long Phase III trials have not yet taken place, while the WHO has not yet granted approval for the jab.

The Kremlin and its state-controlled media have turned the vaccine race into a matter of national prestige - even naming the injection Sputnik V after the former Soviet space satellites - leading to fears that safety could be compromised for the sake of Russia's image. 
Britain, the US and Canada claimed last month that Russia had tried to hack into Western vaccine research in its quest to win the race.  

While small trials can show whether a vaccine is likely to be safe, much larger tests are needed to show whether it will prevent the spread of the disease - and one UK scientist warned today that there was 'no data' on the Russian vaccine.    

One expert warned that 'the damage from release of any vaccine that was less than safe and effective would exacerbate our current problems insurmountably'.


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