On Sunday, several media reports suggested that Russia has become the first nation to complete clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine on humans.
While the initial results of human trials do indicate that the vaccine is safe and effective to an extent, celebrating the supposed ‘world’s first COVID-19 vaccine’ seems premature.
On June 18, Russia allowed clinical trials of two forms of a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology.
The first vaccine, in the form of a solution for intramuscular administration, was carried out at the Burdenko Military Hospital.
Another vaccine, in the form of a powder for the preparation of a solution for intramuscular administration, was carried out at Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University.
The first stage of research on the vaccine at Sechenov University involved a group of 18 volunteers, and the second group comprised 20 volunteers. After vaccination, all volunteers were expected to remain in isolation in a hospital for 28 days.
Even though the Russian vaccine has cleared the first phase of clinical trials, it has a long way ahead to be recognised as a proven vaccine against COVID-19.