But Russia has released no scientific data on its vaccine testing therefore unable to verify its claimed safety or effectiveness. Critics say the country’s push for a vaccine comes amid political pressure from the Kremlin, which is keen to portray Russia as a global scientific force.
There are also wide concerns the human testing of the vaccine is incomplete.
Dozens of vaccine trials are underway around the world and a small number are in large-scale efficacy trials, but most developers have cautioned that much work remains before their vaccines can be approved.
While some global vaccines are in the third phase of trials, the Russian vaccine is yet to complete its second phase. Developers plan to complete that phase by August 3, and then conduct the third phase of testing in parallel with the vaccination of the medical workers.
Russians scientists say the vaccine has been quick to develop because it is a modified version of one already created to fight against other diseases. That’s the approach being taken in many other countries and by other companies.
Notably, Moderna, whose vaccine is being backed by the U.S. government and which started Phase 3 testing Monday, has built its coronavirus vaccine on the backbone of a vaccine it had been developing for a related virus, MERS. While this has sped the development process, US and European regulators are requiring the full complement of safety and efficacy tests for the vaccine.
Russia’s defense ministry says that Russian soldiers served as volunteers in human trials.