Fauci questions safety of Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine

Posted by News Express | 11 August 2020 | 1,080 times

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•Russian President Vladimir Putin


Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday claimed victory in the global race to find a coronavirus vaccine , and said his own daughter had been inoculated with the drug.

Russian authorities have approved, and are to begin mass-producing the substance named Sputnik V after the iconic Russian satellite developed by the Gamaleya Institute in Moscow, Russian state news agency TASS reported.

It will be made available first Russia’s frontline public-service workers, such as medics and teachers, before being released to the general public, according to reports. Medics could have access to it as early as late August or early September, according to the agency.

Putin said on Tuesday: “I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and, I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks,” as quoted by Reuters .

Many experts have expressed reservations about the Gamaleya vaccine in recent days, however. It has not yet undergone phase-3 trials, which are considered essential to guarantee the safety of a vaccine.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious-diseases expert in the US, is among those who have shared concerns about the fast-track process taken by countries, including Russia and China, in the race to produce a treatment.

In testimony to a congressional committee on July 31 , Fauci said, according to CNN: “I do hope that the Chinese and the Russians are actually testing the vaccine before they are administering the vaccine to anyone. Because claims of having a vaccine ready to distribute before you do testing is, I think, problematic at best.”

In the testimony Fauci added that he remained optimistic that the US would be able to produce its own vaccine by the end of the year, while not cutting corners with safety standards.

“We are going very quickly. I do not believe that there will be vaccines so far ahead of us that we will have to depend on other countries to get us vaccines. I believe the program that is being sponsored by us right now, and being directed and implemented by us, is going at a very rapid speed prudent, but rapid,” Fauci said.

The coronavirus crisis has prompted a race by nations to be the first to develop a vaccine, with geopolitical influence and prestige at stake as well as many thousands of lives.

Russia has recently been accused by the US, Canada, and the UK of attempting to hack their top coronavirus research centers.

Russia’s announcement is being treated with caution, as the institute that developed the treatment has only released limited information on the drug.

“We are in close contact with Russian health authorities and discussions are ongoing with respect to possible WHO prequalification of the vaccine, but again prequalification of any vaccine includes the rigorous review and assessment of all required safety and efficacy data,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told a UN briefing in Geneva Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Source: News Express

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