Russia has announced that mass vaccinations are planned for early October, making it the first country to approve and distribute a coronavirus vaccine, but researchers warn of the move.
The head of Russia’s direct investment fund, Kirill Dmitriev, who sponsored the Gamaleya Research Institute’s development of a vaccine, says a vaccination can be approved in just a few days, before researchers complete a three-phase study.
“I am concerned that Russia is cutting corners so that the vaccine that comes out is not only ineffective, but also unsafe,” a global public health law expert at Georgetown University, Lawrence Gostin, told the Associated Press on Friday. “It does not work that way. … Trials come first. That̵
RUSSIA PLANS MASS VACCINATIONS OF OCTOBER, DOCTORS AND TEACHERS WILL BE THE FIRST, SAYS HEALTH REPRESENTATIVES
Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko announced that people considered part of the “risk group”, such as healthcare professionals, could be offered the vaccine as soon as this month.
Murashko did not clarify whether the healthcare workers who received the vaccination would be part of the phase three study.
U.S. Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has warned of rushing to find a vaccination without the necessary precautions and studies.
“I hope the Chinese and Russians actually test a vaccine before administering the vaccine to someone, for claims of having a vaccine ready to distribute before testing I think is problematic at best,” Fauci said last week.
The United States has accused both Russia and China of attempted espionage and theft in the development of a coronavirus vaccine.
RUSSIAN HACKERS BEHIND CYBERATTACKS ON CORONAVIRUS VACCINE DEVELOPERS: USA, UK, CANADA INTEL
The US Department of Justice accused two Chinese nationals in late July of working with the Chinese intelligence agency, the Ministry of State Security (MSS), after they were captured and hacked US and international databases with information on vaccine development.
One of the companies that the hackers targeted was Moderna, which received half a billion funding from the US government for the development of a vaccine. They are expected to start a 30,000-person clinical trial this month
China has denied all allegations.
Recently, so-called sources from the US government have accused China of hacking to steal technology and data about US vaccine research, but there has been no evidence whatsoever, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin last week.
Britain, Canada and the United States have also accused the Russian Kremlin of using hackers to break into databases to steal information about COVID-19 vaccines.
“It is completely unacceptable that the Russian intelligence services are targeting those working to fight the coronavirus pandemic,” said British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in a statement after the British National Cyber Security Center with information on recent Russian hacking.
“While others pursue their selfish interests with ruthless behavior, Britain and its allies continue the hard work of finding a vaccine and protecting global health,” he added.
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Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova has promised to begin “industrial production” of a vaccine in September, which will enable mass vaccinations in October.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.