Russian President Vladimir Putin says country has approved world's first coronavirus vaccine

The Moscow-developed drug has yet to go through Phase 3 trials, and questions remain about its safety.

Updated: August 11, 2020 - 10:18am

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday announced the approval of a coronavirus vaccine, making it the world's first vaccine available to treat the novel virus. There is, however, ongoing concern over the safety and efficacy of the Russian vaccine.

"A vaccine against coronavirus has been registered for the first time in the world this morning. I know that it works quite effectively, it forms a stable immunity," Putin said on state TV Aug. 11.

The vaccine, called Sputnik-V -- a reference to the 1957 surprise launch of the world's first satellite by the Soviet Union -- was developed by the Gamaleya Institute, based in Moscow. 

Russia has not released any scientific data or information about its testing of the vaccine, leaving other western countries unable to verify the claim that the vaccine works. The treatment has not yet gone through Phase 3 trials, during which it would be tested on thousands of individuals. 

Russia is claiming that at least 20 countries, and several American companies, have expressed interest in their vaccine. Putin also claimed that one of his daughters had already been inoculated by the new drug, and said she is "feeling well and has a high number of antibodies." 

Putin's announcement comes on the heels of accusations, which the Kremlin denied, that Russian spies infiltrated the information systems of U.S., Canadian, and British research labs to acquire proprietary information about vaccine developments.

Globally, three vaccines - in the U.S., U.K., and China - that have entered or are close to entering Phase 3 trials. Additionally, at least 16 other vaccines are in clinical trials in Australia, France, Germany, India, Russia, South Korea, the U.K., the U.S., and China.