Pictured in this video is a volunteer receiving a Russian polyvalent vector vaccine for Covid-19 as part of clinical trials at Sechenov’s First Moscow State Medical University.
Press center of Sechenov Medical University TASS | Getty Images
Russia has announced that human trials of its controversial coronavirus vaccine have begun in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Kremlin said on Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had made a phone call with Abu Dhabi̵
The call noted “the importance of joint efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus, including interaction with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, which is currently being clinically tested in the UAE,” the Kremlin said in a statement. It added that the leaders also “reaffirmed their mutual intention to further strengthen the strategic partnership between Russia and the UAE in various fields”.
The UAE is the second foreign country to test Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine – dubbed the Cold War space race – after tests in Belarus, Reuters reported on Monday. Additional trials are reported to have begun in Venezuela, another country allied with Russia.
However, the Russian vaccine is controversial with experts around the world who question its efficacy and safety.
Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, which developed the vaccine, has not yet shared additional research and data from early clinical trials testing the vaccine, the Moscow Times reported last week. It comes despite calls from scientists to be wary of data published in the medical journal The Lancet in September.
Russian authorities say claims that the vaccine is ineffective are tantamount to an “information war” and reflect the West’s bias towards the country. The vaccine received regulatory approval in August, making Russia the first country in the world to reach this stage.
Russia has already announced on its vaccine website that several countries, including the UAE, as well as the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and “probably India and Brazil,” will participate in “post-registration clinical trials” of the vaccine. Mass production was expected to begin in September 2020, but it is uncertain whether this has begun or not.