Tuesday Russian President Vladimir Putin crowed that they had discovered a COVID vaccine and that his own daughter had taken a dose. But little is known about this vaccine, except that the country wouldn’t have had time to test it (phase 3 trials) causing outside experts to warn that it might not be safe or effective.
It has become a point of national pride for the Russians which may explain the rush to declare they have a vaccine, even before it has been tested on thousands of people, the phase 3 study for any vaccine.
Named Sputnik V, after Russia’s first orbital satellite which kicked off the space race, Putin has declared that they would administer the possible vaccine to millions of people this summer and fall — including tens of thousands of teachers and front-line health-care workers before even finishing clinical trials — with the formula developed by the Gamaleya Institute in Moscow.
When asked about this possible vaccine, J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said:
“This is changing the rules. This is cutting corners. It’s a major development, and it starts with Putin. He needs a win.’
“It’s hearkening [back to] the Sputnik moment,” he added. “It’s harking back to the glory days of Russian science, it’s putting the Russian propaganda machine into full gear. I think this could backfire.”