Moscow: The Russian Health Ministry has said that the first batch of the Sputnik V vaccine against the novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2 has been released into public circulation, with regional deliveries planned in the near future. On August 11, Moscow registered the world’s first vaccine against COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, amid widespread criticism from global experts citing safety concerns.
“The first batch of the ‘Gam-COVID-Vac’ [Sputnik V] vaccine for the prevention of new coronavirus infection, developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Ministry of Health of Russia, has passed the necessary quality tests in the laboratories of Roszdravnadzor [medical device regulator] and has been released into civil circulation,” the ministry said in a statement, Sputnik reported.
Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko had announced that vaccination against COVID-19 among volunteers under phase 3 of clinical trials will start this week.
On Sunday, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin expressed hope that the majority of the Russian capital’s residents would be vaccinated against COVID-19 within several months.
Sputnik V vaccine trial to begin this month in India
Meanwhile, Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), on Monday confirmed that the clinical trial of the Sputnik V vaccine will begin this month in countries, including India. Russia had said that at least 20 countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Philippines, Mexico, Brazil and India, have expressed their interest in obtaining the vaccine following registration.
Last weekend, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that he feels good after getting the vaccine and experiences no side effects.
“I feel quite all right. I have neither run a high temperature nor experienced any other side effects. I advise everyone to undergo vaccination,” he said in a televised interview with Rossiya’1 channel, which excerpts were aired on Saturday, reported Russian news agency TASS.
The results of the phase 1-2 clinical trials, published in the medical journal The Lancet, showed 100 per cent participants developed antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and no serious side effects.
Moscow plans to ramp up production of the vaccine to 200 million doses by the end of 2020, including 30 million in Russia.