MOSCOW • Russia plans to register a coronavirus vaccine by Aug 10-12, clearing the way for what its backers say would be the world's first official approval of an inoculation against the virus amid the epidemic.
The drug developed by Moscow's Gamaleya Institute and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) may be approved for civilian use within three to seven days of registration by regulators, according to a person familiar with the process, who asked not to be identified.
Gamaleya's vaccine is expected to get conditional registration next month, meaning the institute will still need to conduct trials on another 1,600 people, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said in a televised meeting of officials with President Vladimir Putin yesterday.
Production should begin in September, she said.
"The key requirements for a vaccine are its proven effectiveness and safety, so everything needs to be done very carefully and accurately," Mr Putin said at the end of the meeting. "Our confidence in the vaccine must be absolute."
Earlier, state news service RIA Novosti reported that the vaccine may be approved by Aug 15-16.
While the vaccine has been touted by its developers as safe and potentially the first to reach the public, the data has not been published and the speed with which developers are moving has raised questions in other countries.
Gamaleya is scheduled to begin phase three trials next week in Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Russia has over 800,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases, the fourth-most in the world. "Americans were surprised when they heard Sputnik's beeping. It's the same with this vaccine. Russia will have got there first," RDIF head Kirill Dmitriev told CNN.