Britain would be likely to reject a potentially game-changing coronavirus vaccine from Russia amid strong reservations about the trial process there, the Telegraph can reveal.
That approach chimes with the US, where Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease official, raised doubts about the testing regimes for potential vaccines in both Russia and China. There are strict international protocols governing the development of new drugs.
Russia has claimed it is close to rolling out the world’s first vaccine against Covid-19, the key development in beating the global pandemic. Moscow has boasted it is a ‘Sputnik moment’, when the Soviet Union astonished the US by making it into space first with its 1957 satellite.
Russia’s health minister Mikhail Murashko said on Saturday that the Gamaleya Institute, a state research facility, had completed clinical trials. Doctors and teachers would be the first to be vaccinated. “We plan wider vaccinations for October,” Murashko was quoted as saying.
But Dr Fauci told a Congressional hearing late on Friday that it was unlikely the US would make use of either a Russian or Chinese vaccine if they became available first. He also predicted that an American vaccine would be available by the end of the year.
Three Western coronavirus vaccines are in final phase three trials. One is produced by US biotech firm Moderna and the National Institutes for Health; one by the University of Oxford and Britain’s AstraZeneca; the last by Germany’s BioNTech with US pharmaceutical Pfizer.