Russia has concluded plans to begin international trials of its COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, which it has already received approval for use.
This comes as the country ramps up the number of domestic volunteers to more than 40,000 people as early as next week, in what could become one of the largest ongoing trials in the world.
The head of Sovereign Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Kirill Dmitriev, said that countries that are expected to participate in the initial trial include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Philippines. He said that Brazil and India are also in talks to provide volunteers.
Dmitriev also stated that the testing will adhere to international standards at home and abroad.
“This will be one of the largest ongoing trials of vaccines in the world. It will be done in parallel with our high risk workers such as health workers being vaccinated,” he said.
Nairametrics had reported that the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, announced that Russia has registered the first COVID-19 vaccine. They had also revealed they were going to start a mass inoculation of the vaccine, which was developed by Gamaleya Institute in collaboration with the Defence Ministry and the RDIF, later this month.
Russia has, however, faced criticism from some western countries and scientists, for its rush to register and administer the vaccine for lack of transparent data.
Dmitriev disclosed that a major publication in the West will run Russia’s scientific paper although he declined to mention the name of the journal over concerns of political pressure.
The Russian President in what is regarded as a propaganda coup amid the global race for the development of a vaccine against the coronavirus disease, gave an emergency registration before clinical trials were completed.
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Over 160 other vaccines are under development globally and with contenders from the UK, the US and China racing to become the first country to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus which has killed over 788,000 people, with over 22 million confirmed cases globally