GENEVA, Aug 4, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – The World Health Organization on
Tuesday urged Russia to follow the established guidelines for
producing safe and effective vaccines after Moscow announced plans to
start swiftly producing COVID-19 jabs.
Russia said Monday it aims to launch mass production of a
coronavirus vaccine in September and turn out “several million” doses
per month by next year.
Russia is pushing ahead with several vaccine prototypes. Officials
claimed that one trialled by the Gamaleya institute in Moscow has
reached advanced stages of development and is about to pass state
“We are very much counting on starting mass production in
September,” Industry Minister Denis Manturov said in an interview
published by state news agency TASS.
Asked about the developments in Russia, the WHO stressed that all
vaccine candidates should go through the full stages of testing before
being rolled out.
“There are established practices and there are guidelines out,” WHO
spokesman Christian Lindmeier told reporters at the United Nations in
“Any vaccine…(or medicine) for this purpose should be, of course,
going through all the various trials and tests before being licenced
for roll-out,” he said.
“Sometimes individual researchers claim they have found something,
which is of course, as such, great news.
“But between finding or having a clue of maybe having a vaccine
that works, and having gone through all the stages, is a big
– Race for vaccine –
The pandemic has seen an unprecedented mobilisation of funding and
research to rush through a vaccine that can protect billions of people
Scientists in the West have raised concerns about the speed of
development of Russian vaccines, suggesting that researchers might be
cutting corners after coming under pressure from the authorities to
The WHO’s overview of COVID-19 candidate vaccines, published on
Friday, lists 26 candidates in clinical evaluation — of which six
have progressed as far as wider Phase 3 levels of testing.
The Gamaleya candidate, which is among the 26 being tested on
humans, is listed as being in Phase 1.
A further 139 candidates worldwide were listed as being in
Lindmeier said the WHO had not been officially notified of any
Russian vaccine on the verge of being deployed.
“If there was anything official, then our colleagues in the
European office would definitely look into this,” the spokesman said.
“In general terms, there are a set of guidances and regulations,
rules, how to deal with safe development of a vaccine.
“These should be definitely followed in order to make sure that we
know what the vaccine is working against, who it can help and, of
course, also if it has any negative side effects.”