Alwaght- Russia reportedly has begun manufacturing vaccine for the new coronavirus, known as COVID-19.
The vaccine, called “Sputnik V” and developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute and the first for the COVID-19 to go into production, will be rolled out by the end of this month, Interfax news agency cited the health ministry as saying.
The report comes just days after Russia’s Health Minister Mikhail Murashko rejected as “groundless” mostly Western allegations that the country’s pioneering COVID-19 vaccine was unsafe, saying the claims were leveled by rival competitors.
Murashko further dismissed concerns raised by Western experts and media about the low number of clinical trials undergone to develop the first officially-approved coronavirus vaccine in the world.
He said a special app was currently under development to enable the recipients of the vaccination to monitor any adverse effects of the drug.
‘First batch due in two weeks’
The Russian health minister also said that the first batch of its coronavirus vaccine would be released in two weeks.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin announced the development of the vaccine last Tuesday, saying his country had become the first in the world to develop and approve such a drug.
Asked about the vaccine’s safety, head of the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology Alexander Gintsburg emphasized that the vaccine is based on a well-researched scientific platform dating back decades.
"The platform has been in development for 25 years for the purpose of gene therapy, but at the end of 2014 it was used to create drugs to fight the most rapidly changing viruses,” he said.
“The same platform was used to develop vaccines against Ebola, MERS [Middle East Respiratory Syndrome], and a number of other diseases. It allowed the creation of an Ebola vaccine within a fairly short period of 15 months, which later was highly assessed by the WHO [World Health Organization].”
“The technology is not unique, it is also used in the UK and China, but in our case, it has its advantages," he further added.
Vietnam's Health Ministry has registered to purchase the Russian vaccine, its state television reported Friday.
Vietnam was lauded for suppressing an earlier contagion through aggressive testing, contact-tracing and quarantining, but it is now racing to control infections in multiple locations.
More than 100 possible vaccines are being developed around the world to try to stop the COVID-19 pandemic. At least four are in the final Phase III human trials, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO).
President Putin has stressed that the vaccine has passed all the necessary checks and has even been administered to one of his own daughters.
The WHO, meanwhile, has said it is in contact with Russia about the vaccine.