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World's 'first' COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V out in Russia: How it works and who will get it?

Developed by Gamaleya Research Institute and the Russian defence ministry, the vaccine underwent necessary tests, Russia claimed (Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg)Premium
Developed by Gamaleya Research Institute and the Russian defence ministry, the vaccine underwent necessary tests, Russia claimed (Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg)

  • Moscow has dubbed its new coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V
  • Russia had already received requests from more than 20 countries for 1 billion doses of its newly-registered COVID-19 vaccine, claimed minister

Russia became the first country in the world to register a COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, President Vladimir Putin said today. Putin added that one of his daughters has already been inoculated. Developed by Gamaleya Research Institute and the Russian defence ministry, the vaccine underwent necessary tests, Russia claimed. “I know it has proven efficient and forms a stable immunity, and I would like to repeat that it has passed all the necessary tests," Putin said.

Putin said that his daughter had a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 Fahrenheit) on the day of the first vaccine injection, and then it dropped to just over 37 degrees (98.6 Fahrenheit) on the following day. After the second shot she again had a slight increase in temperature, but then it was all over. “She's feeling well and has high number of antibodies," Putin added.

Russia health ministry said that the COVID-19 vaccine offers lasting immunity from the virus. The vaccine is expected to provide immunity from the coronavirus for up to two years, according to health ministry.

Moscow has dubbed its new coronavirus vaccine "Sputnik V" after the Soviet satellite, Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund said.

How will Sputnik V work?

Alexander Gintsburg, director of the Gamaleya National Research Centre, said that vaccine used inanimate particles created on the basis of adenovirus, according to Sputnik News. He said there are no concerns that the vaccine could potentially cause harm to a person's health.

Some people naturally have a fever when immune system of the person being vaccinated receives a powerful boost but this "side-effect" can easily be overcome by taking paracetamol, he added.

Who will get COVID-19 vaccine first?

Russian officials have said that large-scale production of the vaccine will start in September, and mass vaccination may begin as early as October. Russian authorities have said that medical workers, teachers and other risk groups will be the first to be inoculated.

Professor Alexander Gintsburg, head of the Gamaleya Institute that developed the vaccine, said that vaccination will start while the Phase III trials continue. He said that initially there will be only enough doses to conduct vaccination in 10-15 of Russia’s 85 regions, according to the Interfax news agency.

Human studies show unmistakable immune response:

In April, Russia President Vladimir Putin ordered state officials to shorten the time of clinical trials for a variety of drugs, including potential coronavirus vaccines. Clinical human studies started June 17 among 76 volunteers. Half were injected with a vaccine in liquid form and the other half with a vaccine that came as soluble powder.

"The results of the check-up clearly demonstrate an unmistakable immune response attained through the vaccination. No side effects or issues with the body of the volunteers were found", the ministry said, according to Sputnik News.

Dmitriev said Russia had already received requests from more than 20 countries for 1 billion doses of its newly-registered COVID-19 vaccine.

The World Health Organization said any WHO stamp of approval on a COVID-19 vaccine candidate would require a rigorous safety data review, after Russia announced Tuesday it had approved a vaccine.

(With inputs from agencies)

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