Russia announced on Tuesday that it would approve a Covid-19 vaccine – a move hailed by Moscow as evidence of its scientific prowess.
The vaccine developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute will be known as “Sputnik V” when it hits the markets.
During his announcement, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the vaccine was “safe” and that it had been administered to one of his daughters.
The vaccine, which has been tested on humans for less than two months, has raised concerns globally about its safety. The Russian health ministry approved it before phase 3 of trials, which is critical to secure regulatory approval as it would normally involve thousands of participants to test the large-scale efficacy of a vaccine.
“It seems our foreign colleagues are sensing the specific competitive advantages of the Russian drug and are trying to express opinions that … are absolutely groundless,” Russia’s health minister Mikhail Murashko told the Interfax news agency on Wednesday.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a media briefing on Thursday that it is awaiting further information to assess Russia’s vaccine and would be working with Russian authorities to do so.
Murashko said the vaccine would be available soon.