Scientists and researchers around the world are developing vaccines to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Amid the race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a coronavirus vaccine, touted as the world’s first such vaccine and named Sputnik V. The vaccine is developed jointly by Gamaleya Research Institute and the Russian Defence Ministry. Russia claims that the final stages of clinical trials of this vaccine are underway.
However, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, Russia’s claim to have developed an effective vaccine for the novel coronavirus are all dubious claims. Concocting a vaccine is not the same thing as proving a vaccine is safe and effective.
Speaking in the keynote interview for a National Geographic program “Stopping Pandemics” due to be streamed Thursday, Fauci – the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – cast doubt on Russia’s announcement about having a vaccine ready for use.
“I hope that the Russians have actually definitively proven that the vaccine is safe and effective,” Fauci said during the interview. “I seriously doubt that they’ve done that.”
We have half a dozen or more vaccines,” Fauci said. “So, if we wanted to take the chance of hurting a lot of people or giving them something that doesn’t work, we could start doing this, you know, next week if we wanted to. But that’s not the way it works.”
Russia has been reporting this summer it was working on a vaccine, called Sputnik V. In May, the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow said researchers had begun testing of the vaccine on themselves with a first human trial of 76 subjects a month later.
But Gamaleya has yet to publish any results from human trials, which typically involve three phases to check a drug’s safety, efficacy, and dosage nor did it release any preclinical research involving animals or experiments in laboratories.
Fast-tracked approval will not make Russia the leader in the race, it will just expose consumers of the vaccine to unnecessary danger,” according to Russia’s Association of Clinical Trials Organizations. The group urged officials to postpone vaccine approval until advanced trials are complete.
Many scientists fear that Moscow may be putting national prestige before safety