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Russia approves a possible coronavirus vaccine before clearing trials

Some health experts are raising concerns about its safety.

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President Vladimir Putin says Russia has developed the first vaccine offering "sustainable immunity" against the coronavirus.

Alexey Nikolsky/Getty Images
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday his country has approved the world's first coronavirus vaccine, dubbed Sputnik V. Some health experts, however, are raising concerns about the possible vaccine getting approved before clinical trials have been completed. 

"A vaccine against coronavirus has been registered for the first time in the world this morning," Putin said on state television, according to CNN. "I know that it works quite effectively. It forms a stable immunity."

The possible vaccine, which was developed by Gamaleya Institute in Moscow, still needs to go through phase 3 clinical trials, where a greater number of people are tested over a long period of time. Putin reportedly dismissed concerns about the speed of the approval, saying the vaccine has already been given to one of his daughters. 

The possible vaccine could be put into mass production by the end of the year, according to Reuters.

Dozens of vaccines to stop COVID-19 are under development around the world to beat back the virus, which has infected over 20 million people and killed more than 737,000 worldwide. Many experts, including doctors at the World Health Organization, have said the fastest way to bring an end to the pandemic is through a vaccine

While many have pinned hopes on the rapid development of a vaccine, health experts have also warned that safety must remain a top priority. 

"I do hope that the Chinese and the Russians are actually testing the vaccine before they are administering the vaccine to anyone, because claims of having a vaccine ready to distribute before you do testing, I think, is problematic at best," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at a congressional hearing last month. 

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