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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Vladimir Putin, Sputnik in news ~ as Global Scientists pour scorn on new vaccine !!

The overall number of global coronavirus cases has crossed the 20 million-mark – 20,521,644  to be specific, while the death toll has reached 745,918. The US accounted for the world’s highest number of infections and fatalities at 5,085,821 and 162,919, respectively.  The World is looking forward to the known remedy – a vaccine, and yet when one was announced, Scientists have poured scorn !!

Katerina Tikhonova  is a Russian acrobatic dancer, and director of two initiatives at Moscow State University: the National Intellectual Development Foundation (NIDF) and the National Intellectual Reserve Centre (NIRC).  Her sister is in news! More so because – she has had immunization with the latest vaccine ! and she is the daughter of Vladimir Putin.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (1952) is a   former officer of the KGB who has served as President of Russia since 2012, previously holding the position from 1999 until 2008. He was also the Prime Minister of Russia from 1999 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2012.

Putin was born in Leningrad (now St Petersburg) and studied law at Leningrad State University, graduating in 1975. Putin worked as a KGB foreign intelligence officer for 16 years, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, before resigning in 1991 to begin a political career. He later moved to Moscow in 1996 to join the administration of President Boris Yeltsin. He served as Director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and Secretary of the Security Council, before being appointed as Prime Minister in Aug 1999. After the resignation of Yeltsin, Putin became Acting President, and less than four months later was elected outright to his first term as president and was reelected in 2004.

During his first tenure as president, the Russian economy grew for eight straight years, with GDP measured by purchasing power increasing by 72%, real incomes increased by a factor of 2.5, real wages more than tripled; unemployment and poverty more than halved and the Russians' self-assessed life satisfaction rose significantly.  The growth was a result of a five-fold increase in the price of oil and gas which constitute the majority of Russian exports, recovery from the post-Communist depression and financial crises, a rise in foreign investment,and prudent economic and fiscal policies.

He is seen as a charismatic macho man – few years back, he was  awarded the highest rank in taekwondo, giving him honorary grandmaster status. It meant that the fit President attained a higher ranking than former US martial artist Chuck Norris. The actor has an eight-degree black belt, while Mr Putin has a ninth-degree. Putin also   holds a black belt in Judo and has been awarded an eighth Dan in the martial art by the International Judo Federation.

Now read the article in MailOnline – the caption itself shows the prejudice – ‘Global scientists pour scorn on Putin's 'reckless, foolish and unethical' claim that Russia has won Covid-19 vaccine race with 'Sputnik V' jab already given to his daughter which he claims offers 'two years' immunity' but has not been fully tested.  Vladimir Putin was savaged by scientists today for his 'reckless and foolish' claim that Russia has developed the world's first effective coronavirus vaccine.

Putin says the vaccine offers 'sustainable immunity' against Covid-19 and says his daughter has already been given the jab, with Russia eyeing up mass injections as soon as October - causing widespread alarm because it has not yet passed clinical trials.   One scientist blasted Putin's move as 'unethical' because an 'improperly tested vaccine' could have 'disastrous' effects on public health, while others warned that there is 'no data' to tell whether the Russian vaccine is effective. Another expert warned that 'the damage from release of any vaccine that was less than safe and effective would exacerbate our current problems insurmountably'.  While small trials can show whether a vaccine is likely to be safe, the usually months-long Phase III tests which measure its effectiveness have not yet taken place, while the WHO has not yet granted approval for the jab.

Nonetheless, Russia claims that 20 countries have already ordered a billion doses of the vaccine, which has been named Sputnik V after the former Soviet space satellites. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has already struck a deal for millions of doses while India, Brazil and Saudi Arabia have previously expressed an interest in the drug, according to Russian officials. The Kremlin and its state-controlled media have touted Russian scientists as global pioneers and turned the vaccine race into a matter of national prestige - leading to fears that safety could be compromised for the sake of Russia's image.

Putin said one of his daughters Maria  and Katerina had been injected with a coronavirus vaccine. Reports in Russia say it was the younger Katerina who was inoculated. The Russian jab is a type called a viral vector vaccine, meaning it uses  another virus to carry the immune agent - damaged parts of the real coronavirus, which can trigger a reaction but not cause an infection - into human cells. Putin's vaccine uses an adenovirus, a type of virus best known for causing the common cold, which has been weakened so it cannot trigger illness. Oxford University's vaccine candidate uses the same method. Russia claims the jab sped through early trials on monkeys and humans, known as Phase I and II trials, and was safe and effective at producing antibodies against Covid-19.

According to some reports, there  are currently 19 vaccines that have been tested for the ability to generate antibody (Phase I), another 11 that have passed this stage and gone on to expended testing (Phase II), eight at Phase III and one vaccine approved for limited use.  Speaking at a government meeting today, Putin claimed that the vaccine has undergone proper testing and been proven safe to use. 'I would like to repeat that it has passed all the necessary tests,' he said. 'The most important thing is to ensure full safety of using the vaccine and its efficiency.' 

Putin said his daughter had a temperature of 100F (38C) on the day of the first vaccine injection, which then dropped to 99F (37C) on the following day.  After the second shot she again had a slight increase in temperature, but then it was all over, Putin said.  He did not reveal whether it was his daughter Maria or Katerina who received the vaccine. However, reports in Russia said it was the younger Katerina who was inoculated. Further reports last month claimed that some of Russia's business and political elite had been given access to experimental vaccines as long ago as April.  The Russian president said he hoped the country would soon start mass producing the vaccine.  Russia has suffered nearly 900,000 coronavirus cases, but the daily infection rate has been slowly falling for several months.  Billionaire tycoons and government officials began getting jabs developed by the state-run Gamaleya Institute in Moscow in the spring, sources told Bloomberg.

Sputnik or спутник literally means 'fellow traveller', but has held a special place in Russian history. Sputnik was the first-ever artificial Earth satellite launched mankind. The Soviet Union launched it into an elliptical low Earth orbit on 4 Oct 1957. At the time, Sputnik was an invention way ahead of its time and had left the USSR’s then adversary USA in a state of shock. Sputnik gave birth to the space age. The successful launch shocked the world, giving the former Soviet Union the distinction of putting the first human-made object into space.   

With regards – S. Sampathkumar



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