Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that a coronavirus vaccine made by the Gamaleya Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow has been approved for use. The vaccine is named Sputnik-V, after the Soviet rocket that launched the first satellite into orbit and started the space race in 1957.
The vaccine, which is based on a vaccine made in 2015 to fight ebola, requires two shots and will provide immunity for up to two years.
Putin said that the vaccine will need to undergo the third phase of clinical trials before it is distributed to the general population. He said he expects that to happen in early 2021.
"A vaccine against coronavirus has been registered for the first time in the world this morning," Putin said on state TV. "I know that it works quite effectively, it forms a stable immunity."
Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, said the clinical trials are set to begin on August 12 and will take place in multiple countries, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Some people may be vaccinated before the clinical trial is complete. Russian officials hope to begin giving it to doctors and other frontline workers by the end of the month.
"We expect tens of thousands of volunteers to be vaccinated within the next months," Dmitriev said. "So people outside of clinical trials will have access to the vaccine in August, and some, already on the massive scale, in October."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will need to approve the vaccine before it can be used in the United States.
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