Russia begins production of COVID-19 vaccine
Moscow, August 16, 2020
Russia has begun production of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, named Sputnik V, the country's Health Ministry said on Saturday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had, on August 11, announced the development of the vaccine, which has been named after the space satellite launched by the country in 1957.
The vaccine has been developed by the N. F. Gamaleya Federal Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology.
"The production of the vaccine against the novel coronavirus COVID-19, developed by the N. F. Gamaleya Federal Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology, has begun," a statement from the Ministry said.
Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said the vaccine had proven to be effective and safe during the clinical trials.
It was created on a platform that had been used for the development of a number of other vaccines, he said.
According to the Russian Health Ministry, experience shows that such vaccines are capable of developing long-term immunity that lasts for up to two years.
Russian news agency Tass quoted Kirill Dmitriev, Head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), as saying that Russia had received requests for more than one billion doses of the vaccine from 20 countries.
On Wednesday, Murashko had said that Russia would offer the vaccine to other countries once its own citizens were vaccinated. He also asserted that doubts over the effectiveness of the vaccine were unfounded.
Russia has so far reported 915,808 cases of COVID-19 and 15,595 deaths so far.