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Here's the latest:
Russia has become the first country in the world to approve a coronavirus vaccine, albeit by skipping large-scale testing that many scientists say is critical for proving a drug's safety as well as efficacy.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the news on Tuesday during a cabinet meeting, saying that the vaccine had "passed all the necessary tests." He said one of his two daughters had taken the experimental drug and that she felt fine after a slight temperature increase.
The news did not come as a complete surprise. Last week, a Russian health official said the country was prepared to start a mass vaccination campaign in October, with doctors and teachers being the first in line to receive the vaccine.
The proposed vaccine has gone through early trials, according to Russian officials, but it has not completed the critical third phase trial in which thousands are given the drug and compared with those who take a placebo. That final step provides more statistical certainty about a vaccine's effectiveness as well as the ability to observe side effects among a broader group of people.
“The point is not to be first with the vaccine,” said U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on ABC’s “Good Morning America" in response to Russia's announcement. “The point is to have a vaccine that is safe and effective for the American people and the people of the world.”
Russia has more than 895,000 confirmed virus cases, with more than 15,000 deaths. The country ranks 15th in terms of coronavirus deaths per capita, below the United Kingdom, which leads the ranking, and the U.S., which is fourth on the list.
Despite the risks of a rushed process, the race to find a vaccine has been intense, with echoes of the Cold War. The Russian vaccine is notably named Sputnick, after the first orbital satellite launched by the Soviet Union in 1957, a move that would spur the space race. The Trump administration has dubbed its own vaccine program, "Operation Warp Speed."
Both Trump and Putin have suffered high disapproval ratings over their handling of the outbreaks, though approval ratings matter little in countries where elections are rigged by the man in charge.
There are more than 165 coronavirus vaccines in development, with 30 currently in human trials. The United States is hoping to produce a vaccine by as early as the end of the year, although Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease specialist, warned that it may not be 100% effective.
Based on other vaccines, he estimated it would be 70% to 75% effective.
Like others, he has expressed concern that the rush to produce a vaccine could result in some national health authorities cutting corners.
"I do hope that the Chinese and the Russians are actually testing the vaccine before they are administering the vaccine to anyone. Because claims of having a vaccine ready to distribute before you do testing is, I think, problematic at best," he said last month before a House subcommittee on the U.S. coronavirus response.