Tuesday 11 August 2020 1:18 pm

Russia names new vaccine after iconic satellite Sputnik

Russia has named its first approved coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V, in reference to the world’s first satellite launched by the Soviet Union in 1957.

The choice in name was selected as a way of comparing the vaccine to what Russia views as its success in becoming the first country to approve a treatment, according to a Moscow official.

Kirill Dmitriev, head of the country’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund, said Russia has received requests from more than 20 countries for 1bn doses of its newly-registered vaccine.

Read more: Russia becomes first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine

The approval, announced by President Vladimir Putin today, comes after less than two months of human trials.

Some international scientists have questioned whether Russia has moved too quickly in declaring the vaccine safe for use.

“Normally you need a large number of people to be tested before you approve a vaccine,” said Peter Kremsner from the University Hospital in Tuebingen, which is currently testing Curevac’s Covid-19 vaccine.

“In that respect, I think it’s reckless to [approve it] if lots of people haven’t already been tested.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Deaths in England and Wales fall to new low

Russian business conglomerate Sistema has said it expects to put the vaccine into mass production by the end of the year.

Putin said his own daughter had received the vaccine, dismissing concerns the country was putting national prestige above safety.

“I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks,” he said.