Russia turns table on US, UK: 'Show study of your vaccines' safety'

Philippine Daily Inquirer, 07.09.2020

MANILA, Philippines - The head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) financing Russia’s vaccine project, which is set to start clinical trials with the Philippines, has challenged the US and the UK to come out with a study showing that their respective potential vaccines against the coronavirus have no long-term effects.

Russia's development of a potential coronavirus vaccine has been "attacked by lots of Western media" RDIF chief executive officer Kirill Dmitriev said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel on Monday.

But Dmitriev cited the "great results" of a study recently published in Britain's Lancet medical journal, which showed that patients in early tests developed antibodies with "no serious adverse events."

"I think it’s very important that the same standards applied to Russia [should be applied] to other countries…We answered all your questions, we published our data in a Western magazine, please show us your studies that show that monkey adenovirus vaccine such as AstraZenica’s British vaccine and MRNA, the US vaccine, have no long terms effects or increasing risk for cancer and infertility," Dmitriev said.

"To our knowledge, those studies do not exist and this is very important... They need to show to their people how do they make sure that there is no high risk of cancer, no high risks of infertility," he added.

He further said that Russia’s vaccine is "based on an already proven approach that has been tried by many people, including the US military," in contrast to that of the US and the UK which he claimed "have not been studied long term."

"Russia took already its registered vaccine for Ebola that went through all the clinical trials: Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3 and just modified it a little bit to make this vaccine," Dmitriev said.

According to Dmitriev, Russia will apply for the pre-qualification process of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Russia's health ministry has already furnished WHO with the results of Moscow's vaccine trial, he said.

"We’ll be working with WHO…with all of the Western organizations. We are in touch with all the people who really care about the vaccine being available to lots of countries," he added.

The Philippines is scheduled to conduct Phase 3 of clinical trials of Sputnik V vaccine from October 2020 to March 2021.

The human testing phase will be funded by the Russian government and will be done simultaneously in Manila and Moscow.

Before trials start, however, vaccine experts in the country must first review the protocols and guidelines. This must also be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

"We are very eager to start our clinical trials in the Philippines," Dmitriev said.

"We are in touch with your health ministry and once again, we agree that this issue should not be politicized. We should all be working together," he added.