WHO in talks with Russia for new COVID-19 vaccine

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The World Health Organization () said it is discussing with health authorities for possible WHO prequalification of its new , a WHO spokesperson said Tuesday.

“It’s vital that we apply all public health measures that we know are working, and we need to continue to invest in and accelerate the development of safe and effective treatments and vaccines that will help us reduce disease transmission in the future,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told a U.N. briefing in Geneva.

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“We are in close contact with Russian health authorities and discussions are ongoing with respect to possible WHO prequalification of the vaccine, but again prequalification of any vaccine includes the rigorous review and assessment of all required safety and efficacy data,” he added, referring to clinical trials.

“We are following the progress in the development of COVID-19 vaccines, and we maintain the draft landscape of candidate vaccines, which is updated every week on our website,” said the spokesman. “WHO lists 25 candidate vaccines in clinical evaluation and 139 in a pre-clinical evaluation.”

President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday that Russia became the first country to register a COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing.

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WHO in talks with Russia for new COVID-19 vaccine

Gamaleya National Research Center developed the vaccine it was officially registered to Russia’s Health Ministry, Putin told a meeting of members of the government in Moscow.

Putin assured the vaccine was safe, and it had been administered to one of his daughters.

“I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks,” Putin said.

The vaccine’s registration to the health ministry would grant a Phase III trial involving thousands of participants.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier thanked and accepted the offer of Russia to supply the Philippines with COVID-19 vaccines, adding he hopes for a COVID-free Christmas celebration in the country.

In his Monday public address, the President said he was so happy that the country’s “friend” Russia would give the Philippines COVID-19 vaccines.

“Nagpapasalamat ho ako sa inyo sa mabuting loob ninyo sa Filipino. Someday, we will, makabayad man lang kami sa utang na loob sa inyo (I thank you for your kindness toward Filipinos. Someday, we will repay you),” he said Monday evening.

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