New Delhi: At a time when the global coronavirus tally crossed 20 million-mark, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday announced that his country has developed the world’s first vaccine that works quite effectively and forms a stable immunity against COVID-19. Also Read - 106-year-old Woman Wins Battle Against COVID-19 in Maharashtra

However, the announcement by Russia that the COVID-19 vaccine will be approved after less than two months of human testing prompted scientists to express concern who said with no full trial data, the vaccine is hard to trust. Also Read - COVID-19: Five Indian States Account For Over 60% Active Cases, Total Recoveries Exceed 43 Lakh

Even though Russia has claimed that the vaccine has passed all the necessary inspections, the country is facing strong criticism from scientists across the globe for rushing the vaccine development process and not involving a large number of people in the trial before declaring it safe. Also Read - Loneliness Has Doubled Among Older Adults Amid Pandemic: Study

Reacting to Russia’s announcement, US health secretary Alex Azar said the goal of developing a coronavirus vaccine is not to be first, but to have one that is safe and effective.

“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,” Azar said.

Danny Altmann, Professor of Immunology at Imperial College London, told the Science Media Centre there were concerns about releasing a vaccine before it was fully tested.

“The bar is necessarily set very high for criteria that must be satisfied for approval after Phase 3 clinical trials,” CNN quoted Altmann as saying.

Amid fears that safety could have been compromised, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged Russia to follow international guidelines for producing a vaccine against COVID-19.

Moreover, the Russian vaccine is not among the WHO’s list of six vaccines that have reached phase three clinical trials, which involve more widespread testing in humans.

However, Putin said that one of his daughters had tested a Russian COVID-19 vaccine on herself and that she is feeling well.

“I know this very well, because one of my daughters got vaccinated, so in this sense, she took part in testing,” Putin said.

How does it work?

The vaccine has two separately-injected components. These two components work together to build a long-term immunity against the virus, Sputnik news agency reported.

All about the vaccine

The clinical trials of the vaccine started on June 18 and included 38 volunteers. All of the participants developed immunity. The first group was discharged on July 15, the second group on July 20.

Named as Sputnik-V, the vaccine is a reference to the surprise 1957 launch of the world’s first satellite by the Soviet Union.

Russia said that the vaccine is being developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute in collaboration with the defence ministry of the country.