Russia has developed the first vaccine offering "sustainable immunity" against the coronavirus, President Vladimir Putin announced on Tuesday.
"This morning, for the first time in the world, a vaccine against the new coronavirus was registered" in Russia, he said during a televised video conference call with government ministers.
Putin said the vaccine, developed by Moscow's Gamaleya Institute, was safe and that it had even been administered to one of his daughters.
"One of my daughters had this vaccine. I think in this sense she took part in the experiment," Putin said.
"I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks," said Putin.
He said he hoped the country would soon start mass producing the vaccine.
Its approval by the health ministry foreshadows the start of a larger trial involving thousands of participants, commonly known as a Phase III trial.
Such trials, which require a certain rate of participants catching the virus to observe the vaccine's effect, are normally considered essential precursors for a vaccine to receive regulatory approval.
Regulators around the world have insisted that the rush to develop Covid-19 vaccines will not compromise safety. But recent surveys show growing public distrust in governments' efforts to rapidly produce such a vaccine.
Russian health workers treating Covid-19 patients will be offered the chance of volunteering to be vaccinated soon after the vaccine's approval, a source told Reuters last month.
The World Health Organisation last week urged Russia to follow established guidelines and go "through all the stages" necessary to develop a safe vaccine.
More than 100 possible vaccines are being developed around the world to try to stop the Covid-19 pandemic. At least four are in final Phase III human trials, according to WHO data. (Reuters, AFP)
Russia has developed 'first' Covid-19 vaccine: Putin
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