Scientific community blew up on the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin after he announced Tuesday what he called the ‘world’s first’ coronavirus vaccine without completed the essential ‘Phase III trial.’
In a televised government address, the Russian president announced that his nation has won the vaccine race by registering the very first COVID -19 vaccine in the world.
But the president’s claim did not bode well with the scientific community which slammed Putin’s claim as ‘reckless and foolish’ since the Russian vaccine is yet to be given a green light by WHO and there’s no proper data to prove its efficacy, Daily Mail reports.
“It is vital that any vaccine roll-out has the confidence of the general public, and that there is good communication of the level of effectiveness and any likely side effects,” Dr. Michael Head, a global health researcher at the University of Southampton told Daily Mail.
“At this point in time, there is no data on the Russian-led vaccine for the global health community to scrutinise,” Head added.
Putin, while announcing the registration insisted the vaccine overcame all the necessary procedures and successfully initiated an immune response which he claimed will last for two years. backing his claim, Putin revealed one of his daughters have been inoculated already.
As per media reports, scientists highlighted that there is ‘no data’ available for the vaccine, and it is yet to undergo the usually months long Phase III clinical trial involving humans.
On the contrary, the Russian president went ahead to claim as many as 20 countries have already shown interest in the vaccine named Sputnik V. He announced in the televised address that mass vaccinations will start as early as October this year.
One scientist pointed out that an improperly tested vaccine could spell disastrous effects on the public health and another expert warned ‘the damage from the release of any vaccine that was less than safe and effective would exacerbate our current problems insurmountably.’
Russia’s vaccine announcement comes shortly after the UK, US and Canada jointly accused the nation of ‘stealing’ essential vaccine data from research by the three countries in a bid to win the vaccine race.
The WHO in a statement said they’re closely working with the Russian authorities to decide the next step.
“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 reporters.
It must be noted, experts did not dismiss the possibility for an effective Russian vaccine, but warned for a possible lack of data and presumption of efficacy.
A vaccine to be deemed effective for the public at large must go through the rigorous medical procedures, and in case of this novel virus, bars are rightfully set high for approval.
Back in July Russia conducted human clinical trials on 76 volunteers which later raised questions on the effectiveness of the vaccine. Experts demanded scientific proves over Russia’s claim that the vaccine was successful in the small trial it conducted.
WHO last week has urged Russia to follow the established practices for its vaccines. Coronavirus caseload in Russia is the fourth-highest after India. Per Johns Hopkins tally, there are 895,691 cases recorded in the nation.
There are more than 100 vaccines currently under development. Moscow putting national prestige ahead of safety has raised concern, understandably.
“We hope it’s true, but as is so often the case with Russia: trust but verify,” White House Council of Economic Advisers Acting Chairman Tyler Goodspeed said on Fox Business Network about the Russian vaccine.