Moscow, October 12: The second human trials of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine candidate will begin in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Kremlin said in a statement issued on Monday. The upcoming trials in the Middle Eastern nation would also be the second offshore tests of Sputnik V. Earlier, Belarus was the only country after Russia to have begun testing the vaccine. No Volunteer Contracted Coronavirus After Receiving Sputnik V, Says Gamaleya Institute Chief.
The announcement by Kremlin was preceded by a dialogue over the vaccine partnership between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, news agency Reuters reported.
After the UAE, Russia is expected to begin human trials of Sputnik V in Venezuela. The offshore clinical tests is expected to bring credence to the vaccine candidate -- whose efficacy has been questioned by experts around the world over the alleged discrepancy in release of data ahead of the August 11 launch in Russia.
The vaccine, developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute in coordination with the Russian Defence Ministry, is expected to be rolled out to all citizens of the country by October-end. Several nations in the Middle East and other third-world countries have also intended to import the vaccine, the Russian government officials said last month.
The United Kingdom and the United States are among the countries that have publicly raised questions over the vaccine's development, claiming that Moscow was not transparent in releasing the pre-clinical trials data.
A recent Lancet study, which showed that all 76 participants of the June-July trials in Russia developed antibodies, is being used by Moscow to hit back at critics. Some of the researchers, however, have questioned the Lancet report claiming that the data shared in it is "improbable".
Amid questions also being raised at the Lancet report, Russia attempted to allay apprehensions on Monday, with the Gamaleya Institute announcing that none among the 2,000 volunteers on whom the vaccine has been administered were found to be infected. The statement, issued by the head of Gamaleya, comes amid the ongoing third phase trials in Moscow.