Russia says coronavirus vaccine will be ready for doctors in two weeks

Russia says coronavirus vaccine will be ready for doctors in two weeks
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Russia said the first batch of its COVID-19 vaccine will be ready for some medics within two weeks, with Kremlin officials on Wednesday rejecting “groundless” concerns from global health experts about the drug’s speedy approval.

“It seems our foreign colleagues are sensing the specific competitive advantages of the Russian drug and are trying to express opinions that in our opinion are completely groundless,” Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said, according to Reuters.

Murashko said the vaccine, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, would be administered to volunteers as soon as it is ready.

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“The first packages of the medical vaccine against the coronavirus infection will be received within the next two weeks, primarily for doctors,” he said, according to Reuters.

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinEx-Trump national security adviser says US leaders 'making it easy for Putin' to meddle The Hill's Campaign Report: GOP set to ask SCOTUS to limit mail-in voting Putin calls on UN to strengthen World Health Organization MORE announced that the country had become the first in the world to grant regulatory approval for a COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing. 

Putin insisted that the vaccine underwent clinical testing and has proven to offer immunity from the coronavirus, saying it was administered to one of his adult daughters.

The announcement, however, sparked international skepticism.

The Russian vaccine has not yet completed its final trials. The so-called phase three trials of the vaccine typically take months and involve thousands of human participants.

Health experts raised concerns about the vaccine’s usefulness since it was granted regulatory approval before the trials were completed.

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Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: US coronavirus deaths hit 200,000 | Ginsburg's death puts future of ObamaCare at risk | Federal panel delays vote on initial COVID-19 vaccine distribution White House seeks to change subject from 200K COVID-19 deaths Putin calls on UN to strengthen World Health Organization MORE, the top infectious disease expert in U.S., said he had serious doubts about Putin’s announcement.

“Having a vaccine and proving that a vaccine is safe and effective are two different things," Fauci said on Tuesday. 

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, said that he had seen no evidence supporting Putin's position. 

"I hope that the Russians have actually, definitively proven that the vaccine is safe and effective. I seriously doubt that they've done that," he said, adding that Americans need to understand that the process for gaining vaccine approval requires safety and efficacy. 

More than 100 possible vaccines are being developed around the world as part of efforts to offer immunity protection for the coronavirus. Moderna, in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, launched a phase three trial for a vaccine in July, making it the first U.S. candidate to reach that stage.