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Russia becomes first country to approve COVID-19 vaccine with 'Sputnik-V' Updated: 2020-08-12 13:25:24 KST

Russia has declared victory in the global race to make a COVID-19 vaccine.
On Tuesday, President Vladimir Putin said Russia is the first country to approve a vaccine.
Developed by the country's Gamaleya Institute, the drug is named "Sputnik V", in homage to the world's first satellite Russia launched during the Cold War.
Putin said the drug underwent necessary tests and forms a lasting immunity to COVID-19, adding that one of his daughters was also given it.

However, the authorities have not yet provided data on the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.
The approval comes without going through the final, Phase 3 trial - which involves tens of thousands of people being administered it over a months-long period.
This has prompted experts to raise concerns.

"And if the reports of the vaccine so far having been tested on a few-dozen people are true, then that is way too early in the process to actually approve a vaccine. It may be promising, but we may be taking it a step too far in terms of any regulatory approvals at this stage."

The international community remains largely skeptical too.
In response to Russia's announcement, a U.S. top health official said, “the point is not to be first".
Germany also echoed the pessimism, pointing to a lack of information.
The World Health Organization says it's in discussions with Moscow, calling for an objective assessment of its safety and effectiveness.

Despite concerns, Moscow says it will first voluntarily provide the vaccine to medical staff, and then to teachers.
It expects to mass produce the drug by the end of the year.
Lee Kyung-eun, Arirang News.
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