WHO and Russian health authorities are now discussing the process for possible WHO pre-qualification for Covid-19 vaccine
Russia's first coronavirus vaccine is developed jointly by Gamaleya Research Institute and the Russian Defence Ministry
Moments after Russian President Vladmir Putin announced the registration of the country's first coronavirus vaccine, also touted as world's first such vaccine against the virus, the World Health Organisation and Russian health authorities are now discussing the process for possible WHO prequalification for Covid-19 vaccine, a WHO spokesman said on Tuesday.
"We are in close contact with Russian health authorities and discussions are ongoing with respect to possible WHO prequalification of the vaccine, but again prequalification of any vaccine includes the rigorous review and assessment of all required safety and efficacy data," WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told a U.N. briefing in Geneva, referring to clinical trials, according to Reuters.
Russia's first coronavirus vaccine is developed jointly by Gamaleya Research Institute and the Russian Defence Ministry.
Clinical trials of the vaccine began on June 18 and included 38 volunteers. All of the participants developed immunity. The first group was discharged on July 15 and the second group on July 20.
Putin's announcement for a Covid-19 vaccine came in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic that has infected more than 20 million people and killed nearly 750,000 worldwide, thus, crippling world economies.
The president asked Health Minister Mikhail Murashko to keep him informed about the Covid-19 vaccine, while at the same time noting that he knows "it works quite effectively" and "forms a stable immunity", according to Russian news agencies.
"This morning, for the first time in the world, a vaccine against the new coronavirus was registered" in Russia, Putin said during a televised video conference call with government ministers, as per news agency AFP.
Putin further thanked everyone who worked on the vaccine's development and described it as "a very important step for the world". He hopes the country's research body will soon start mass production of coronavirus vaccine.
"I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks," said Putin.
He emphasized that the vaccine underwent the necessary tests. He added that one of his two daughters has received a shot of the vaccine and is feeling well, according to Associated Press reports.
However, the vaccine’s registration is conditional and trials will continue while production gets underway, said Murashko.
Murashko also added that the first Russian vaccine against the coronavirus will begin to be produced at two sites - the Gamaleya Research Institute and the company Binnopharm.
"The two-stage injection plan helps form a lasting immunity. The experience with vector vaccines and two-stage scheme shows that immunity lasts for up to two years", the Health Ministry said, as reported by Sputnik News.
Meanwhile, WHO had earlier said all vaccine candidates should go through full stages of testing before being rolled out.
More than 100 possible vaccines are being developed around the world to try to stop the pandemic. At least four are in final Phase III human trials, according to WHO data.
Companies including AstraZeneca Plc and Moderna Inc. are still conducting final-stage trials of their vaccines in studies that are expected to soon yield results.
With inputs from agencies
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