Russia aims to approve COVID-19 vaccine in weeks: report

Russia is aiming to approve a COVID-19 vaccine in a matter of weeks, although the country has yet to release data on its vaccine tests, CNN reported Tuesday.

Russian authorities told the outlet they hope to obtain approval for a vaccine developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute on or before August 10. Once approved for public use, front-line healthcare workers will receive the vaccine first, officials said.

Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, called the development a “Sputnik moment,” referring to when the Soviet Union launched the world’s first satellite.

“The Americans were shocked when they heard the Sputnik beeps. It’s the same with this vaccine. Russia will have come first,” he said, according to CNN.

The outlet noted that it was unable to verify the safety or effectiveness of the Russian vaccine without the data published in its tests.

Russia said it plans to release its data for peer review and publication in early August, although critics predict the country is rushing vaccine development to stay ahead of other world powers.

Russian officials defend the speed of development, citing the pandemic and the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Russia.

The country has confirmed more than 822,000 cases and at least 13,483 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The Russian vaccine would require patients to receive a second booster shot, according to CNN.

Dozens of developers have started vaccine trials worldwide, with a small number starting large-scale trials, including in the US and UK, but experts have warned that the schedule is ongoing and that developers They have not set deadlines for vaccines to be ready.

Russia’s vaccine still needs to finish its second phase of testing, which officials say they hope to complete before August 3. Then the third phase of testing will take place at the same time that front-line healthcare workers are vaccinated, according to the network.

The defense ministry said Russian soldiers have already volunteered in human trials.

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