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12 Aug, 2020 19:51

Russia ready for ‘international cooperation’ on Covid-19 vaccine for everyone – UN envoy

Russia ready for ‘international cooperation’ on Covid-19 vaccine for everyone – UN envoy

Having registered the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine, Russia is prepared to cooperate with anyone interested in developing and producing vaccines and treatment for the coronavirus, Moscow’s envoy to the United Nations has said.

“We are ready for international cooperation with all interested partners in the development and production of vaccines and treatments to ensure a coordinated global response to the spread of Covid-19 and a common victory over the pandemic,” Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the UN Security Council on Wednesday.

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On Tuesday, Russia registered the world’s first vaccine against Covid-19, named ‘Sputnik V,’ after it passed all the domestic testing requirements. The vaccine will continue to be tested on thousands of volunteers in Russia and abroad. 

Nebenzia said that clinical trials have already shown it to be both safe and highly effective, and noted that other “promising” vaccines were being developed in Russia as well.

Some Western governments have disparaged the Russian achievement, demanding to see evidence of the vaccine’s safety, even as their own pharmaceutical companies have required absolute immunity from liability lawsuits over potential adverse effects. 

“The point is not to be first with a vaccine, the point is to have a vaccine that is safe and effective for the American people and the people of the world,” US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said on Tuesday.

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Russian officials have shrugged off such criticism. Health Minister Mikhail Murashko called it “totally groundless” and blamed it on fear of “competition and competitive disadvantages from Russia’s product.”

Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) which funded the vaccine research, went a step further, saying that a “politicized approach to the Russian vaccine on the part of a number of Western countries endangers the lives of their citizens.”

As of Wednesday, the US has registered over 5.3 million cases of Covid-19, and more than 168,000 deaths. Russia has counted 902,700 cases and 15,260 deaths.

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