Daily US Times: Russia has dismissed mounting international concern over the safety of the Covid-19 vaccine it claimed to be developed locally as “absolutely groundless”.
Russia said on Tuesday that a Covid-19 vaccine had been given regulatory approval after less than two months of testing on humans.
But experts instantly raise concerns about the speed of Russia’s work, and a growing list of countries have expressed scepticism.
Scientists in France, Spain, Germany and the US have all urged caution.
On Wednesday, Russia’s Health Minister Mikhail Murashko told the Interfax news agency:”It seems our foreign colleagues are sensing the specific competitive advantages of the Russian drug and are trying to express opinions that… are absolutely groundless.”
The vaccine would be available soon, he added.
Mr Murashko said: “The first packages of the medical vaccine… will be received within the next two weeks, primarily for doctors.”
Russian officials have said the government plan to start mass vaccination in October.
President Vladimir Putin made the announcement on Tuesday. He said the vaccine had passed all the required checks and his daughter had already been given it.
But the World Health Organization (WHO) said it was in talks with the authorities in Russia about undertaking a review of the vaccine, which has been named Sputnik-V.
It is not among the WHO’s list of six vaccines that have reached phase three clinical trials, which involve more widespread testing in humans.
What has the reaction been?
The progress Russia says it has made on a coronavirus vaccine has been met with scepticism by media outlets and health officials and in the US and Europe.
On Wednesday, the health minister of Germany expressed concern that it had not been properly tested.
Jens Spahn said: “It can be dangerous to start vaccinating millions… of people too early because it could pretty much kill the acceptance of vaccination if it goes wrong.”
He continued: “Based on everything we know… this has not been sufficiently tested. It’s not about being first somehow – it’s about having a safe vaccine.”
Isabelle Imbert, a researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research in Marseille, said promising a cure too early could be “very dangerous”.
She said: “We do not know the methodology or the results of their clinical trials.”
You may read: New Zealand records first coronavirus cases in 102 days