Russia has had to manage about one million COVID-19 cases. Some experts believe that figure could be grossly under-reported.
Local officials promised that they would begin creating and distributing a vaccine to protect the population from the easily spreadable coronavirus. On August 11, 2020, Putin’s government announced that they had done so successfully.
The vaccine was developed at the Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology. They call the product Sputnik V. Russia believes it can produce up to 500 million doses annually.
Although initial studies show that the vaccine creates a desirable immune response, the degree of protection it offers is currently unknown.
What Are Long-Term Studies Needed for Vaccines?
Although several companies are at the same vaccine development stage as the Russian government, their products are still several months from being considered safe to use.
Russia has the benefit of avoiding litigation. If someone becomes ill or dies because they took the COVID-19 vaccine, that individual’s family has few legal options to pursue.
If that outcome were to happen in the United States, the family could pursue the company who made the vaccine for damages.
The first large-scale trials for Sputnik V launched in late August. Over 40,000 people, including Brazil, India, Saudi Arabia, and UAE, were scheduled to participate in the program.
Russia reports that world governments are requesting one billion doses of the new vaccine.
As of August 28, nine candidates are in late-stage trials, with all of them offering potential immune response benefits. Some have encountered difficulties since then, forcing the research to be put on hold while safety factors get evaluated.
Why Did Russia Work Hard to Have the First COVID Vaccine?
Whoever provides the first COVID vaccine to the world with documented safety evidence backing it stands to earn a small fortune.
Moderna is one of the companies outside of Russia with a viable COVID vaccine in late-stage trials. They are making deals with government providers at prices around $32 per dose. Since an annual update may be necessary, it could be a multi-billion-dollar windfall for the winner of the vaccine race.
Russia wants to cash in on that opportunity.
Most experts believe that the first vaccines should be available in 2021 for essential workers and at-risk groups. It may be September before it is ready for everyone to take.
Until then, remember to keep up with your healthy habits. Include items from brands like Enzymedica and Herb Pharm to give your immune system the help it wants.