President Putin says Russia has the first approved COVID-19 vaccine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the approval of a coronavirus vaccine for use on Tuesday. 

“A vaccine against coronavirus has been registered for the first time in the world this morning,” Putin said on state TV. “I know that it works quite effectively, it forms a stable immunity.”

Putin added that one of his daughters had already taken it; he said she had a slightly higher temperature after each dose, but that: “Now she feels well.”

Developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute, the vaccine has is named Sputnik-V, a reference to the surprise 1957 launch of the world’s first satellite by the Soviet Union. 

It has yet to go through crucial Phase 3 trials where it would be administered to thousands of people. 

There are those in the scientific community that says Russia has cut corner in the development of the vaccine. Many have suggested the proclamation is politically driven with the desire to stamp Russia as a global force in the scientific world. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the approval of the Sputnik-V vaccine during a teleconference meeting with members of his government on August 11, 2020.

Russia has yet to release testing or data on the safety or effectiveness of the vaccine. 

Russian officials have confirmed massive global interest including some American companies.

Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is funding the vaccine research, said projected requests topple a billion.

“We’ve seen considerable interest in the Russian vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Institute abroad. Moreover, we have received preliminary applications for over 1 billion doses of the vaccine from 20 countries,” 

“Along with our foreign partners, we are already prepared to manufacture over 500 million doses of vaccine per year in five countries, and the plan is to ramp up production capacity even higher. So far, countries in Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia have displayed the greatest interest in the vaccine, and we are about to finalize a number of contracts for the purchase of the vaccine.”

Dmitriev said Phase 3 trials of the vaccine would start Wednesday.

“We have already reached agreements on conducting the relevant trials of the Gamaleya vaccine [abroad] with partners from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and a number of other countries,” he said.

This surprise announcement has shocked the medical and scientific world. 

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