Rajnath Singh lauds Russian scientists for developing COVID-19 vaccine


Rajnath Singh

Rajnath Singh

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday congratulated the government and people of Russia for successfully managing the coronavirus pandemic in the country and lauded its scientists for developing a vaccine against the deadly disease.

President Vladimir Putin last month announced that Russian scientists had developed the world’s first vaccine against COVID-19, Sputnik-V. He said one of his daughters had already been vaccinated with it and that it works “quite effectively” and forms “stable immunity”.

Speaking at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting here on Friday, Rajnath Singh said, “I congratulate the government and people of Russia for successfully managing the pandemic.”

“We applaud Russian scientists and health workers for spearheading the Sputnik V vaccine. I wish you all health and success in this time of pandemic!” the minister said.

The Russian government has reached out to India seeking a collaboration for manufacturing its COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V’ and conducting its phase 3 clinical trial in the country. However, there has been scepticism in some quarters about limited data related to the efficacy of the Russian vaccine.

Meanwhile, The Lancet journal on Friday reported the first peer-reviewed results of the Russian vaccine.

According to the journal, the ‘Sputnik V’ COVID-19 vaccine produced antibody response in all participants with no serious adverse events in small human trials.

Results from early-phase non-randomised vaccine trials in a total of 76 people show that two formulations of the vaccine have a good safety profile detected over 42 days, and induce antibody responses in all participants within 21 days.

Secondary outcomes from the trial suggest the vaccine, approved last month by Russia, also produces a T cell response within 28 days, the researchers said.

The coronavirus, which emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, has claimed 17,598 lives in Russia and the country has over 1 million confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University (JHU).

Globally over 869,000 people have died due to COVID-19 and more than 26,344,000 people have been infected, according to JHU.

Rajnath Singh is on a three-day visit to Moscow to attend the meeting of the defence ministers of the eight-member SCO grouping.

On Thursday, he held talks with his Russian counterpart Gen. Sergey Shoigu during which Rajnath Singh appreciated the steadfast support provided by Russia in response to the country’s defence and security needs.