Putin touts second dubious approval of an unproven COVID-19 vaccine

A vaguely smug man in a suit sits in front of a flag.

Enlarge / Russia's President Vladimir Putin. (credit: Getty | Mikhail Klimentyev )

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday announced the second dubious approval of a COVID-19 vaccine that has not been evaluated in clinical trials.

The vaccine, dubbed EpiVacCorona, is said to be a synthetic peptide-based vaccine, which uses fragments of the pandemic virus SARS-CoV-2 to spur protective immune responses in those vaccinated. It was developed by Vector State Virology and Biotechnology Center, a former Soviet bioweapons research lab.

Like the first Russian-approved vaccine, whether EpiVacCorona is actually safe and effective is completely unknown. In a televised news conference, Putin said that early trials involving 100 people were successful. But researchers have not published any safety or efficacy data from those trials. Russian health officials have said they are still reviewing the vaccine for “safety and quality” but declined to provide any additional information on the vaccine, data, or approval process.

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