Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves Russia and the coronavirus.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin claimed that Russian scientists achieved a breakthrough in the “global vaccine race” announcing that the country has become the first to approve an experimental coronavirus vaccine and that his own daughter has already taken a dose.
Russia’s charge toward a potential vaccine has raised alarm global health experts that the country is jumping dangerously ahead of critical, large-scale testing that is essential to determine if a possible protection against the coronavirus is safe and effective. Few details of the Gamaleya research have been made public or have undergone peer review.
Russia’s Health Ministry did not respond to requests for comment, and the Gamaleya Institute referred an interview request to the ministry.
According to The Washington Post; Konstantin Chumakov who is a member of the Global Virus Network, an international coalition working on viral threats, said “it is scientifically impossible to prove efficacy” without widespread trials, known as Phase 3.
“Using it in general population before the results of Phase 3 trials are fully studied is a gamble,” he said. “A Russian roulette, if you will.”
The vaccine is named Sputnik V, a reference to the first orbital satellite, which was launched by the Soviet Union in 1957 and set off the global space race. The name also evokes how Putin’s government has seen the vaccine race as a point of national pride and competition on a global scale, with labs in the United States, Europe, China and elsewhere also in the hunt for a potential vaccine.
Putin said at a meeting with government members Tuesday that one of his two daughters had received the potential Gamaleya vaccine. He didn’t identify which daughter.
In July, security officials from the United States, Britain and Canada accused hackers linked to a Russian intelligence service of trying to steal information from researchers working to produce coronavirus vaccines in those countries.
But Russian officials denied that. Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund that bankrolled the country’s vaccination effort, dismissed international scrutiny of Russia’s own vaccine efforts as political.
“For countries, it’s difficult to acknowledge that, ‘How is it possible that Russia, which has been always shown as this backward, authoritarian country, can do this?’ ” Dmitriev said last week.