Russia produced first batch of vaccine

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Russia said on Saturday that it had produced its first vaccines against the coronavirus, announced earlier this week by Vladimir Putin, but viewed with skepticism by the rest of the world.

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“The first batch of the new vaccine against the coronavirus of the Gamaleia Research Center has been produced,” the Russian Health Ministry said in a statement, quoted by Russian news agencies.

The Russian president said Tuesday that a first vaccine “quite effective” had been registered in Russia by the Center for Research in Epidemiology and Microbiology Nikolai Gamaleïa, in Moscow, in partnership with the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Mr. Putin had even said that one of his daughters had been inoculated with the vaccine, named “Sputnik V” (V for vaccine), in reference to the Soviet satellite, the first spacecraft put into orbit in 1957, during the Cold War. .

Western researchers have nonetheless expressed doubts about the announcement, some even arguing that a vaccine developed in a rush could be dangerous, while the final phase of the trials only began this week.

The director of the Gamaleïa Center, Alexander Guintsbourg, told TASS on Saturday that the volunteers taking part in the last phase of the test would receive two inoculations.

The Russian sovereign wealth fund involved in the development of the vaccine said that industrial production was due to start in September and that more than a billion doses had been pre-ordered by 20 foreign countries.

Since the start of research, the Gamaleïa Institute has however been accused of breaking with the usual protocols to speed up the scientific process.

And so far, Russia has not published a detailed study to independently verify its results.

Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said this week that the vaccine would be available first to caregivers and then to all Russian volunteers.

With more than 917,000 officially confirmed cases, Russia is currently the fourth most affected country in the world by the epidemic, after the United States, Brazil and India.

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