Russia becomes first country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, says Putin

first_imgPresident Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia had become the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, a move hailed by Moscow as evidence of its scientific prowess.The vaccine still has to complete final trials, raising concerns among some experts at the speed of its approval, but the Russian business conglomerate Sistema has said it expects to put it into mass production by the end of the year.Russian health workers treating COVID-19 patients will be offered the chance of volunteering to be vaccinated in the coming weeks, a source told Reuters last month. Speaking at a government meeting on state television, Putin dismissed those concerns, saying the vaccine, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, was safe and that it had even been administered to one of his daughters.”I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks,” said Putin.He said he hoped mass production would start soon.Phase III trialThe vaccine’s approval by the health ministry comes before the start of a larger trial involving thousands of participants, commonly known as a Phase III trial.Such trials, which require a certain rate of participants catching the virus to observe the vaccine’s effect, are normally considered essential precursors for a vaccine to receive regulatory approval.The Moscow-based Association of Clinical Trials Organizations (ACTO), a trade body representing the world’s top drugmakers in Russia this week urged the health ministry to postpone approval until that final trial had been successfully completed.In a letter to the ministry, it said there were high risks associated with registering a drug before that happened.”It is during this phase that the main evidence of a vaccine’s efficacy is collected, as well as information on adverse reactions that could appear in certain groups of patients: people with weakened immunity, people with concomitant diseases and so forth,” it said.Some international experts have also questioned the speed at which Russia approved its vaccine.”Normally you need a large number of people to be tested before you approve a vaccine,” said Peter Kremsner from the University Hospital in Tuebingen, currently testing CureVac’s COVID-19 vaccine in clinical trials.”In that respect, I think it’s reckless to do that [approve it] if lots of people haven’t already been tested.”Duncan Matthews, a professor of intellectual property law at Queen Mary University of London, said news of a potential COVID-19 vaccine was to be welcomed, “but safety must be the priority”.”The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have fast-track approval procedures for emergency humanitarian use and we need to see evidence that Russia is adopting an equally prudent approach,” Matthews said in an emailed comment.More than 100 possible vaccines are being developed around the world to try to stop the COVID-19 pandemic. At least four are in final Phase III human trials, according to WHO data. Topics :center_img Regulatory approval paves the way for the mass inoculation of the Russian population and authorities hope it will allow the economy, which has been battered by fallout from the virus, to return to full capacity.Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, hailed the development as a historic “Sputnik moment”, comparable to the Soviet Union’s 1957 launch of Sputnik 1, the world’s first satellite.The vaccine will be marketed under the name ‘Sputnik V’ on foreign markets, he said. State media have trumpeted the news.But the speed at which Russia has moved, approving a vaccine before the final stages of clinical trials to test safety and efficacy are over, has worried some scientists, who fear Moscow may be putting national prestige before safety.last_img read more

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Clippers fail first part of West test

first_imgPaul, still not 100 percent after coming back from a shoulder separation, refused to make excuses.“It felt like I didn’t make anything but I didn’t know it was that bad,” he said, looking at the stat sheet. “I just couldn’t make a shot.”Marco Belinelli added 20 points and Tim Duncan had 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Spurs (39-15), who won despite 18 turnovers.With Manu Ginobili, Duncan and Parker, the Spurs have not only won titles, but have been a threat to win for more than a decade.“It’s no secret,” Paul said. “They just change to other guys around them. They’ve got a foundation with Timmy, Manu and TP so you just bring in other guys that fall in line.”Paul became a little sarcastic when asked if the Clippers are making strides with their core of players.“I don’t know,” he said. “Me, Blake and (DeAndre Jordan) are like 2 1/ 2 years and they’ve got like 17? You tell me. Yeah, we’re kind of close.“We’re working on it but obviously there’s a little bit of a difference there.”With a two-game trip to Memphis and Oklahoma City looming this weekend, then a game against Houston, the Clippers could still a move up in the standings in a week’s time.Griffin, returning from his 38-point performance in the All-Star game, scored 15 points in the first half for the Clippers and surpassed the career 6,000-point mark. He became the eighth active player to reach that milestone before the end of his fourth season.The Clippers once again had to go without J.J. Redick, whose sore hip actually turned out to be a bulging disc in his lower back. Redick, averaging 15.7 points per game, is out indefinitely. It was a golden opportunity for the Clippers, who came out of the All-Star break with a key stretch of games against Western Conference playoff contenders.It began at Staples Center on Tuesday, with the San Antonio Spurs in town and the Clippers trailing them in the Western Conference standings by only a game in the loss column.It was a systematic shutdown. Even without three starters, including guard Tony Parker, the Spurs and their championship pedigree ground through the Clippers for a 113-103 victory.“I never really set the pace. Those guys almost beat us at what we wanted to do to them,” Clippers guard Chris Paul said. “We wanted to play fast, they sort of pushed it at us, picked us up full court and Patty Mills was unbelievable and we never could really slow him down.” Imagine playing a Spurs team, one that also went without center Tiago Splitter and forward Kawhi Leonard, and having to explain how Mills came off the bench to score 16 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, including the first 11 of the period.“We were slow, we didn’t play very well, so not a lot of excuses,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “They were more ready for the game than we were. They played with more energy stayed focused with all the stuff, whatever was going on on the floor.“We played a very flat basketball game. I don’t think we came out to do that but that’s the way the game turned out. (Mills) killed us. I don’t know if Parker could have been much better, when you look at it.”Blake Griffin didn’t find a lot of room to work against San Antonio but still had 35 points and 12 rebounds. Jamal Crawford added 25 points, but Paul made only 1 of 10 shots and finished with 11 points and nine assists.“I thought Chris was hurting tonight,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “I don’t know that for a fact, but we didn’t get the whole Chris Paul tonight. That helped us — a lot.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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