Vaccine experts got worried when Vladimir Putin on Tuesday (August 11, 2020) announced that Russia had approved the coronavirus vaccine with no evidence from large scale clinical trials. With the intent of being first in the global race to develop a vaccine against the pandemic diseases, Russia is yet to conduct large- scale trials of the vaccine that would produce data to show whether it works or not. Experts say it to be a “reckless” step.
What Experts are Saying?
“I think it’s really scary, it’s really risky,” says Daniel Salmon, the director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins University. Salmon and other experts said that Russia is taking a dangerous step by jumping ahead of the so-called Phase 3 trials, which can determine how the vaccine works and doesn’t cause harm to people who get it.
Experimental drugs should be given to masses of healthy people rather than giving to sick people. If hundreds of millions of people get a vaccine even a rare side effect will crop up among those thousands of people. Over the past few centuries, researchers have developed increasingly powerful ways to test vaccines for safety and effectiveness. Some of those lessons were learned the hard way when a new vaccine could cause harm. But vaccines are the safest form of medical products.
A specialist in drug research at Britain’s Warwick Business School said, “Russia is essentially conducting a large population-level experiment.” Such a superfast approval could mean that potentially adverse effects of a vaccine may not be picked up. These, while likely to be rare, could be serious,” she warned.
But Russian President Vladimir Putin said the vaccine is developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute and said it to be safe and that it had been administered to one of his daughters. “I know that it works effectively, forms strong immunity and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks,” Putin said on state television.
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An expert at University College London’s Genetics Institute said it was “a reckless and foolish decision. Mass vaccination with an improperly tested vaccine is unethical.” He also said, “Any problem with the Russian vaccination campaign would be disastrous both through its negative effects on health, but also because it would further set back the acceptance of vaccines in the population.”
A professor of Immunology at Imperial College, London, said, “The collateral damage from deploying any vaccine that is not yet known to be safe and effective would exacerbate our current problems insurmountably.”
An expert at Germany’s University Hospital in Tuebingen, who is working on clinical trials of a vaccine candidate from Cure Vac; said Russia’s move was “reckless”. He also said, “Normally you need a large number of people to be tested before you approve a vaccine. I think it’s reckless to do that if lots of people haven’t already been tested.”
Can We Trust Russia Made Vaccine?
Several frontrunners who are working on vaccines, including Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca, says they hope to know if their vaccines work and are safe by the end of this year. All are expected to publish their trial results and safety data and submit them to regulators in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere for scrutiny before any license could be granted.
Experts said the lack of published data on Russia’s vaccine, including how the vaccine is made, the details on the safety, the immune response, and whether it can prevent Covid- 19 infection, leaves scientists, health authorities, and the public in question. “It is not possible to know if the Russian vaccine has been shown to be effective without submission of scientific paper for analysis,” says a specialist in Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at Britain’s Nottingham University.
Experts, scientists, health authorities, and public all over the world are awestruck and in dark about the rushed announcement of the vaccine. It’s now a matter of question, without any trial data, any scientific paper for analysis how can we trust Russia’s Rushed Covid- 19 Vaccine?
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