New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday announced that the country has successfully developed the world's first vaccine offering "sustainable immunity" against coronavirus. The country has dubbed the vaccine "Sputnik V" after the Soviet-era satellite that was the first launched into space.

"This morning, for the first time in the world, a vaccine against the new coronavirus was registered," he said in a televised address. 

"I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks," said Putin. He said he hoped the country would soon start mass producing the vaccine. 

Russian authorities have said that healthcare workers, teachers and other risk groups will be the first to be incoluated. 

The development paves the way for the mass inoculation of the Russian population, even as the final stage of clinical trials to test safety and efficacy continue. Earlier this month, Russia had said it hoped to launch mass production within weeks and turn out "several million" doses per month by next year.

Its approval by the health ministry foreshadows the start of a larger trial involving thousands of participants, commonly known as a Phase III trial. Such trials, which require a certain rate of participants catching the virus to observe the vaccine's effect, are normally considered essential precursors for a vaccine to receive regulatory approval. 

Many scientists in the country and abroad have been skeptical, however, questioning the decision to register the vaccine before Phase 3 trials that normally last for months and involve thousands of people. 

It should be noted that the World Health Organisation has already sternly advised the Russian authorities to proceed as per the already established guidelines to produce a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine.

Russia's Sechenov University had last month announced completion all the clinical trials of the vaccine on volunteers, claiming that results of the research proved the effectiveness of the in-process vaccine. 

Russia Today quoted Putin saying that one of his daughters volunteered in the human trials of the vaccine. "One of my daughters got the vaccine. In this sense, she took part in the experiment. After the first vaccination, she had a temperature of 38, the next day - 37 and that was all," he was quoted as saying. 

The Sechenov University had started clinical trials of the vaccine produced by Russia's Gamalei Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology on June 18. All the volunteers who took part in the vaccine program were discharged by July 20.

The Russian coronavirus vaccine, according to Alexander Lukashev, the director of the Institute of Medical Parasitology, Tropical and Vector-Borne Diseases at Sechenov University, is safe for humans and corresponds to the safety of other vaccines currently available in the market.

Currently there are more than 160 vaccine candidates in different stages of production and 27 of these have reached the human trials. At least four are in final Phase III human trials, according to WHO data. Before the announcement by Russia, Oxford University and drugmaker AstraZeneca were considered one of the frontrunners in the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine. 

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta