After the Covid-19 outbreak broke out last December in Wuhan, a city in China, it has spread across the world.
A global race has been underway to develop and mass-produce an effective vaccine to counter Covid-19.
Russia, on Tuesday 11 August, became the first country to officially register a coronavirus vaccine and declare it ready for use, despite international skepticism.
“For the first time in the world, a vaccine against the new coronavirus was registered”, said Wladimir Putin during a televised video conference call with government ministers in Russia.
Putin added that the vaccine, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, has proven efficient during tests and promises to offer “sustainable immunity” against the coronavirus.
He also stated that one of his daughters had already been inoculated with it.
But concerns have been raised about this first vaccine that has been registered.
Concerns over Sputnik V
According to the science journal ‘Nature’, Russia hasn’t completed large enough trials to test the new vaccine. Rolling out an inadequately vetted vaccine could put people at risk. It could also impede efforts to develop quality Covid-19 immunizations, it suggests.
Putin, however, disagrees with this type of assessment: “I would like to repeat that it has passed all the necessary tests. The most important thing is to ensure full safety of using the vaccine and its efficiency”.
The World Health Organisation (WHO), meanwhile, has called on Russia to follow the necessary procedures to produce a secure and effective Covid-19 vaccine.
Also, some reports have suggested that Sputnik V is not amongst the WHO’s list of six vaccines that have reached ‘phase three’ clinical trials, which involve more widespread testing in humans.
In the meantime, vaccine research continues in several countries. One of those is the United Kingdom (UK). Harwell Science Campus, based on an ex-RAF airbase in Oxfordshire, is going to be the UK’s Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC), where research into Covid-19 will continue.
Matthew Duchars, chief executive of VMIC, explains:
“We’ve really compressed the timeline into almost half. So whereas we were expecting to have it ready at the end of 2022, we’re now hoping to have it online in 2021” to address the ‘Covid-19’ pandemic.
As Russia registers the first vaccine, Covid-19 continues to spread across the world. According to the latest data supplied by WHO, globally, as of 14 August 2020, there have been 20,730,456 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 751,154 reported deaths.