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Experts cast doubts over Putin’s virus vaccine claim

Jab done: President Putin says new vaccine offers lasting immunity PICTURE: AP

VLADIMIR PUTIN’S claim that Russia has developed the world’s first Covid-19 jab has been played down by experts.

The Russian president said the vaccine had passed all ‘necessary checks’ and won regulatory approval after only two months of testing on humans.

And he told the Kremlin one of his daughters had received the jab, named Sputnik V, and was ‘feeling well’.

Mr Putin has two daughters, Maria Vorontsova and Katerina Tikhonova, from his previous marriage — but it is not known which one had the vaccine.

Daughters: Maria Vorontsova (left) and Katerina Tikhonova PICTURE: EAST2WEST NEWS

He claimed it offered a lasting immunity from Covid-19, and officials in Moscow planned to start mass vaccinations in October.

But no evidence has been published to back up his claims, say scientists.

Keith Neal, emeritus professor of epidemiology at the University of Nottingham, said: ‘It is not possible to know if the Russian vaccine has been shown to be effective without submission of scientific papers.’

And Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London, said: ‘The collateral damage from release of any vaccine that was less than safe and effective would exacerbate our current problems insurmountably.’

The World Health Organization has said all vaccine candidates should go through full stages of testing before being rolled out.

And Dr Ayfer Ali, a drug research specialist at Warwick Business School, said one issue with fast approvals was potential adverse effects were likely to be missed. That may lead to the ‘virus entering the body more easily’, which has been seen in animal models of non-Covid vaccines, she said.

Infections pass 20m across globe as 737,000 lives lost in the pandemic

GLOBAL Covid-19 cases have surpassed 20million. The milestone was reached early yesterday, according to Johns Hopkins University, in the US, whose Coronavirus Resource Center is the main reference for monitoring the disease. The number of cases in the US has now passed 5million, as the UK reported more than 313,000 — the 12th-highest figure. Meanwhile, global deaths stood at more than 737,000 last night. The UK reported the fourth highest toll of 46,611 — behind the US, Brazil and Mexico.

CORONAVIRUS GLOBAL CASES

■ CONFIRMED: 20,130,206

■ DEATHS: 737,394

■ RECOVERED: 12,382,856