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Covid-19: Russia produces first batch of Sputnik V vaccine for civilian circulation

Moscow/New Delhi: In some good news for millions living in hope for a Covid-19 vaccine shot, the Russian Health Ministry said on Tuesday that the first batch of Sputnik V vaccine has been produced for civilian circulation.

The supplies of the medication to the Russian regions are expected soon, the Health Ministry told reporters, reports Tass news agency.

“The first batch of the vaccine for preventing the novel coronavirus infection, Gam-COVID-Vac (Sputnik V) developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Russian Health Ministry passed the required quality tests and was produced for civilian circulation.

“In the near future, the supplies of the first batches of the vaccine to the regions are expected,” the ministry said.

Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko earlier explained that civilian production at this stage meant vaccination of citizens from the risk groups, mainly teachers and doctors.

Earlier this month, a study published in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet said a Russian Covid-19 vaccine has shown no serious side effects and elicited an immune response in early human trials.

Russia last month registered the “Sputnik V”, becoming the first country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine.

On August 15, the Russian Health Ministry announced the launch of the vaccine production.

The Lancet study’s authors also held that large, long-term trials, including a placebo comparison, and further monitoring are needed to establish the long-term safety and effectiveness of the vaccine for preventing Covid-19 infection.

The Indian government said late last month that New Delhi and Moscow are in communication regarding the Sputnik V vaccine.

Addressing a press conference, Health Ministry Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said: “As far as Sputnik V vaccine is concerned, India and Russia are in communication, some initial information has been shared and some detailed information is awaited”.

Earlier, the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Kirill Dmitriev, had said that Russia was looking for a partnership with India to produce the Covid-19 vaccine.

Sputnik V, an adenovirus vector-based vaccine, was developed by the Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology along with Russian Direct Investment Fund.

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