Coronavirus: Russia seeks accelerated WHO registration for COVID-19 vaccine

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Russia has applied to the World Health Organization for accelerated registration and prequalification of its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, the country’s sovereign wealth fund said on Tuesday.

Russia announced in August it had registered the world’s first coronavirus vaccine, named Sputnik V after the Soviet-era satellite.

On Tuesday, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which finances the vaccine, said that accelerated registration would make the Russian vaccine “available globally in a shorter time frame than usual procedures.”

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“The Russian Federation has become one of the first countries to apply to WHO for prequalification of its vaccine against the novel coronavirus infection,” the fund said in a statement.

“Successful prequalification will enable Sputnik V to be included in the list of medicines used by international procurement agencies and countries to guide bulk purchasing of medicines.”

Some Western scientists have expressed concern over the Russian vaccine, with some warning that moving too quickly could be dangerous.

Earlier this month President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia had registered its second coronavirus vaccine, EpiVacCorona.

Russia has the fourth-highest virus caseload in the world, with a total of 1,547,774 registered infections and 26,589 deaths.

On Tuesday, health authorities reported a record 320 deaths from the coronavirus over the past 24 hours as officials tightened anti-virus restrictions including enforcing mask-wearing in public spaces.

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