Amid the rising novel coronavirus infections and deaths in the world, Russia says that it plans to register a coronavirus vaccine as soon as 10 August to 12 August, which can also be touted as the world's first Covid-19 vaccine, according to a report.
The drug developed by Moscow's Gamaleya Institute and the Russian Direct Investment Fund may be approved for civilian use within three to seven days of registration by regulators, according to a person familiar with the process, who asked not to be identified because the information isn't public, according to a Bloomberg report.
Earlier, the state-run RIA Novosti news service reported the vaccine may be approved by August 15-16.
Furthermore, a Russian state virology institute has started human trials of the country's second potential Covid-19 vaccine, injecting the first of five volunteers with a dose on July 27, the RIA news agency reported on Tuesday.
The individual was feeling fine, the agency had reported.
Moreover, Russian drugmaker R-Pharm has signed a deal with AstraZeneca for it to manufacture a coronavirus vaccine being developed by the British pharmaceuticals giant and Oxford University, it said earlier.
Following allegations from UK, Canada and the United States that hackers backed by Russia were trying to steal Covid-19 vaccine and treatment research, the head of Russia's wealth fund said the deal showed that Moscow has no need to steal anything.
The Russian Defence Ministry clarified that tests of the vaccine against coronavirus are being conducted in full compliance with methodological regulations, with no attempts to reduce the duration of the research.
"The Russian Defence Ministry tests the vaccine on volunteers in full compliance with the acting legislation and scientific methodological regulations, in order to prevent further risks, without any attempt to reduce the duration of the research", the ministry said in a statement, as reported by Sputnik.
Earlier, scores of Russia's business and political elite were given access to the experimental vaccine as early as April, according to people familiar with the effort, reported Bloomberg. Military volunteers completed Phase 2 trials of the drug last week.
Russia could make 30 million doses domestically in 2020 for its first Covid-19 vaccine, and 170 million abroad, with five countries expressing interest in producing the vaccine and others willing to produce it, according to a Bloomberg report quoting Russian Direct Investment Fund's head Kirill Dmitriev.
Referring to 1957 launch of the world's first satellite by the Soviet Union, Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia's sovereign wealth fund, was quoted as saying, "It is a Sputnik moment." Russia's sovereign wealth fund is financing vaccine research.
"Americans were surprised when they heard Sputnik's beeping. It is the same with this vaccine. Russia will have got there first," he added.
President Vladimir Putin has made finding a vaccine a top priority. Russia has recorded more than 800,000 Covid-19 cases, making it the fourth most-affected country in the world. In Russia's race to be the first to find a vaccine against Covid-19, it's taking an approach that would be shunned in other countries, claiming it will know in just three months of trials whether its leading candidate works.
More than 100 possible vaccines are being developed around the world to try to stop the coronavirus pandemic. At least four are in final Phase III human trials, according to WHO data - including three developed in China and another in Britain.