Health experts are pointing out that Russia's vaccine has skipped the Phase III trials.
With experts and companies racing to create a vaccine to end the global pandemic, Russia has become the first to cross the finish line after announcing that, yes, they have now officially approved a cure against the coronavirus – and it will be made available for the public soon.
Scientists and health experts, however, are raising voices of concerns against the Russian vaccine’s effectiveness, pointing out the lack of data derived from a large-scale testing.
Ayfer Ali, a drug research specialist from the Warwick Business School, explained that Russia is “essentially conducting a large population level experiment.”
According to Ali, the quick approval of the vaccine may mean that potential adverse effects may have gone undetected – which could lead to serious consequences.
Francois Balloux of the University College London’s Genetics Institute also said:
“Mass vaccination with an improperly tested vaccine is unethical. Any problem with the Russian vaccination campaign would be disastrous both through its negative effects on health, but also because it would further set back the acceptance of vaccines in the population.”
“I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks,” he said during a state broadcast.
Typically, human trials involving thousands of participants – usually called the Phase III trial – would be needed before a vaccine is approved. Russia’s vaccine has skipped that and even has no data whatsoever about how it was made or how it has been proven effective.
Meanwhile, other companies in the process of creating a Covid-19 vaccine – such as AstraZeneca, CureVac, Moderna, and Pfizer – are waiting until the end of the year to see if their vaccines are safe and effective. They are also required to publish and submit their trial results before they could obtain a license.
On the other hand, the ‘Sputnik V’ vaccine developed by Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute has immediately been approved by the Health Ministry with only limited human testing.
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