Russia announced this week that they’ve developed the “world’s first” vaccine for Covid-19. Unlike the few other potential vaccine options that are being tested right now, the one that was developed in Moscow never entered a Phase 3 human trial to test its safety or effectiveness. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin claims one of his daughters received the vaccine and was able to recover from the virus.
Russian officials recently spoke with the media and claimed that they offered the United States their “unprecedented corporation with Operation Warp Speed” if they needed it. Operation Warp Speed is the US multi-agency group created to help accelerate the development and distribution of a coronavirus vaccine/treatment. The US responded to Russia’s offer by claiming that the country was “currently not open,” according to authorities who spoke to the press.
“There is a general sense of mistrust of Russia on the American side and we believe that technologies — including vaccine, testing and treatments — are not being adopted in the US because of that mistrust.”
Despite Russia’s opinion on why the US is refusing their help, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany stated recently that the vaccines being produced in America currently are already going through “rigorous Phase 3 testing” which involves administering the vaccine to tens of thousands of volunteers to ensure its safety.
The vaccine developed in Russia barely went through any of that process before reaching approval, leading many world leaders to think that the country rushed through creating the vaccine in order to earn the billions in revenue that will likely come in through the distribution of a Covid-19 vaccine.
There are currently more than 20 vaccine trials occurring around the world, but Russia is still determined to get the US to get on board with their vaccine while they still can. According to authorities at least 20 countries in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia have expressed their interest in the Moscow vaccine despite not knowing much about it. President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, claimed to have so much confidence in it that he would take it the second it arrives in his country.
As previously mentioned, the vaccine developed in Moscow never went through Phase 3 testing, which has been viewed as the most important phase of vaccine development, as it’s when the treatment is deemed safe enough to administer to thousands of people in order to closely monitor if it’s ready for worldwide distribution.
Russia has still yet to release any scientific data on their vaccine and is unable to back up how safe and effective it really is. The country also passed a law back in April that eliminated the requirement of a Phase 3 trial as a means of fast-tracking the vaccine. Senior US officials recently spoke with the media about how America is focusing on finding a vaccine the safest way possible, and won’t be compromising.
“There have been no trials of this vaccine, they’ve done too little work on humans to decide if it works on a larger scale. We’re talking totally inadequate safety data.”
Russia is planning on rolling out its vaccine to high-risk citizens within the coming weeks but will likely begin mass vaccinations in October. The World Health Organization and US officials, however, believe that China will end up being the country that actually wins the race on creating a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine that will be widely distributed based on the current trends in research and testing.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.