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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Russia claims a breakthrough in the global Covid-19 vaccine race before completing testing

Tanutam Thawan

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Russia has jumped past a number of critical steps in its rush to announce a breakthrough in the development of a vaccine for Covid-19. The vaccine formula was developed by the Gamaleya Institute in Moscow. The vaccine even has a name – Sputnik V – referencing the first orbital satellite launched by the Soviet Union in 1957. The name evokes an earlier ‘race’, in that case the space race. This time Russian President Vladimir Putin is evoking a sense of national pride that his country has been first in the current vaccine race. But many questions over the announced vaccine remain unclear.

Mr. Putin announced yesterday that his country had become the first to approve an experimental coronavirus vaccine. He even boasted that his daughter had already been vaccinated with the experimental vaccine. But global health officials claim that Russia has rushed, or completely missed, critical, large-scale testing that to determine if the vaccine is a possible protection against Covid-19 and that it has proven to be safe and effective. Few details of the Gamaleya research have been made public at this stage. Their research has not undergone peer review.

But none of that is stopping Russian officials pledging to administer the vaccine to millions of people. At the top of their list they are including teachers and front-line health-care workers in the coming weeks. They say they will administer these doses even before even finishing clinical trials.

Russia’s Health Ministry has not responded to requests for comment from world media and the Gamaleya Institute is referring questions to the health ministry.

A member of the Global Virus Network, Konstantin Chumakov, representing a global coalition working on viral threats, says that it’s scientifically impossible to prove efficacy without widespread trials, known as Phase 3.

“Using it in general population before the results of Phase 3 trials are fully studied is a gamble. A Russian roulette, if you will.”

Even President Putin has sprinkled his comments with a note of doubt.

“Of course, what counts most is for us to be able to ensure the unconditional safety of the use of this vaccine and its efficiency in the future. I hope that this will be accomplished.”

The surprising announcement comes from a country eager to declare victory amid one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world. Global scientists are expressing concern about the speed of the announcement and the admissions that they haven’t completed the full rounds of testing, international standards for the development of vaccines.

They fear the announcement will give Russian citizens a false sense of security about their immunity. Meanwhile China has also authorised an early coronavirus vaccine for use in its military – again ahead of definitive data proving that the vaccine is safe and effective.

J. Stephen Morrison, senior VP at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, says that the situation in Russia is “changing the rules and cutting corners”.

“It’s a major development, and it starts with Putin. He needs a win. It’s harking back to the glory days of Russian science; it’s putting the Russian propaganda machine into full gear. I think this could backfire.”

The international jockeying to develop a viable, affordable and safe vaccine is sharpening concerns about “vaccine nationalism”. Countries’ are rushing to declare victory over the pandemic as a statement of national pride and geopolitical clout, and may bypass long-standing safeguards that protect citizens from unproven medical products by ensuring that their benefits outweigh the risks.

Last month, security officials from the US, UK and Canada accused hackers linked to a Russian intelligence service of attempting to steal information from their researchers working to produce coronavirus vaccines. Russian officials denied the claims, and Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund that bankrolled the country’s vaccination effort, dismissed international scrutiny of Russia’s own vaccine efforts as political, according to The Washington Post.

“For countries, it’s difficult to acknowledge that, ‘How is it possible that Russia, which has been always shown as this backward, authoritarian country, can do this?’ ”

SOURCES: Reuters | BBC | Washington Post

 

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Michael Lewis

    Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 8:51 am

    Sources Reuters, BBC and WP, no wonder you article is bias. The Russian announcement provided full details but your anti Russia US propaganda chose to omitted them. Russia was never backward in engineering, that was US oropaganda, Russian engineering has always been at the forefront of the world and mostly ahead of US engineering as it still is today.

    • Avatar

      rinky stingpiece

      Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 1:33 pm

      Name a leading Russian engineering company?
      Tell us where Russia’s Silicon valley is?
      Why do you think Russians leave Russia to go to America to create successful tech companies?
      If Russia was at the forefront, they would be doing it there, but it isn’t, so they aren’t.

      • Avatar

        Michael Lewis

        Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 6:00 pm

        Details of the Russian vaccine for covid-19 were published yesterday, see https://sptnkne.ws/DscX.

        The US is currently playing catch up to advanced Russian engineering in the MIC field, thats the main reason why US sanctions are applied. Russian power engineering companies are on par or ahead of there US rivals, that the main reason that the US sanctions are applied. Russia is self sufficient in electronics, the US is still playing catch up to China, that is why the US sanctions Chinese IT. Russian engineers are in high demand in the US which lacks quality engineers of Russian calibre.

        • Avatar

          rinky stingpiece

          Thursday, August 13, 2020 at 1:49 am

          What are you on? I am an engineer, and I speak Russian, what are you, a taxi driver from Luton?

          You didn’t answer my question. One of my lecturers for one of my degrees was Russian, he left, for better opportunities outside Russia.

          I am actually a Russiophile, but very realistic about their capabilities. Yes they do oral vivas, but as soon as they can, they get the fucksi out of dodgski to get paid.

        • Avatar

          dimitri

          Saturday, August 15, 2020 at 8:19 pm

          These are all empty words.
          “advanced Russian engineering in the MIC field” -> Some examples ?
          “Russian power engineering companies are on par or ahead of there US rivals”
          -> Some examples ?
          “Russia is self sufficient in electronics” -> Can you give me an example ?
          “the US is still playing catch up to China” You must be using drugs.
          “Russian engineers are in high demand in the US” -> They are escaping because they have no chances in Russia.
          Sanctions against Russia are there because Russia turned into a criminal and terrorist organisation.

          • Avatar

            Het

            Sunday, August 16, 2020 at 9:27 pm

            Khokhol detected. Mudak ty Dima i gnida.

    • Avatar

      Michael Lewis

      Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 5:35 pm

      Details of the Russian vaccine for covid-19 were published yesterday, see https://sptnkne.ws/DscX.

      • Avatar

        Rinky Stingpiece

        Thursday, August 13, 2020 at 11:56 am

        There is no credible vaccine for covid-19 yet, this is just junk propaganda from the country that invented the term. It has only had 2 months of human trials.

        “The technical feat of developing a COVID19 vaccine is not very complicated,” he says. “The hard part is producing these vaccines under quality umbrellas — quality control and quality assurance — and then assuring the vaccines are safe and actually work to protect against COVID19 in large phase III clinical trials.”
        https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02386-2

        Do you understand what the word “calibre” means in this context?!

  2. Avatar

    Mark Franklin

    Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    We would like you to start reviews of Quarantine hotels and costs because there only going to be approximately 6 million tourists next year there will be a great need for competitive priced hotels other wise there will not be any tourists in Thailand with the hotel and entertainment industry going bankrupt also wide speed poverty which could affect the stability of the government and country

    • Avatar

      Gabi

      Thursday, August 13, 2020 at 12:03 am

      Maybe not even 6 million if Thailand keeps the country locked up.

    • Avatar

      rinky stingpiece

      Thursday, August 13, 2020 at 1:50 am

      I’m buying shares in asq hotels, mask makers, and test kit makers… it’s a sure thing.

  3. Avatar

    Het

    Sunday, August 16, 2020 at 9:46 pm

    Russia must keep vaccine strictly for Russians and it’s allies. Let the West cope with their problems themselves .

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