Russia has developed the first vaccine offering “sustainable immunity” against the coronavirus, President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday.
“This morning, for the first time in the world, a vaccine against the new coronavirus was registered” in Russia, he said during a televised video conference call with government ministers.
“One of my daughters had this vaccine. I think in this sense she took part in the experiment,” Putin said.
Russia has been pushing hard to quickly develop a coronavirus vaccine and said earlier this month it hoped to launch mass production within weeks and turn out “several million” doses per month by next year.
The World Health Organization last week urged Russia to follow established guidelines and go “through all the stages” necessary to develop a safe vaccine.
“There are established practices and there are guidelines out,” WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told reporters at the United Nations in Geneva.
“Any vaccine…(or medicine) for this purpose should be, of course, going through all the various trials and tests before being licenced for roll-out,” he said.
“Sometimes individual researchers claim they have found something, which is of course, as such, great news.
“But between finding or having a clue of maybe having a vaccine that works, and having gone through all the stages, is a big difference.”
The pandemic has seen an unprecedented mobilisation of funding and research to rush through a vaccine that can protect billions of people worldwide.
Scientists in the West have raised concerns about the speed of development of Russian vaccines, suggesting that researchers might be cutting corners after coming under pressure from the authorities to deliver.
The WHO’s overview of Covid-19 candidate vaccines, published on Friday, lists 26 candidates in clinical evaluation — of which six have progressed as far as wider Phase 3 levels of testing.
The Gamaleya candidate, which is among the 26 being tested on humans, is listed as being in Phase 1.
A further 139 candidates worldwide were listed as being in pre-clinical evaluation.