President Vladimir Putin said Russia has registered its first COVID-19 vaccine, calling it an effective protection against the deadly pathogen, and disclosed that one of his own daughters had already received it.
“As far as I know, this morning the first vaccine against the novel conoravirus infection in the world was registered this morning,” Putin said Tuesday at a televised government meeting.
The announcement represents a propaganda coup for the Kremlin amid a global race to develop vaccines against the coronavirus pandemic that has killed nearly 750,000 people, infected more than 20 million and crippled national economies. Companies including AstraZeneca Plc and Moderna Inc. are still conducting final-stage trials of their vaccines in studies that are expected to soon yield results. Some pharmaceutical companies have called Russia’s rushed registration dangerous.
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The vaccine, which is being developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute and the Russian Direct Investment Fund, began Phase 3 trials last week. Medics could begin receiving the vaccine by the end of the month, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said at the meeting.
The news comes as daily COVID-19 cases in Russia dipped below 5,000 for the first time since April 23 as the number continues a slow decline from its May peak. The seven-day moving average has fallen for the last 31 days, with new cases less than half of the 11,656 reported on May 11.
The number of new cases has fallen across Russia after a nationwide lockdown that ended in mid-May. Life has returned to pre-pandemic levels of activity, according to a self-isolation index based on location data gathered by internet company Yandex.
Russia has nearly 900,000 people diagnosed with COVID-19, the fourth-most confirmed cases in the world. It had over 27,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the second quarter, according to Federal Statistics Service data published this week.
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