Russia registers record COVID-19 deaths for 2nd day
1st time since beginning of pandemic daily death toll in Russia exceeds 500
/NOVOSTIVL/ Russia reported on Wednesday a new record number of coronavirus-related deaths for the second day in a row.
For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, the virus claimed over 500 lives in one day in Russia - 507 people died of COVID-19 over the past day, taking the death toll to 37,538, the country's emergency task force said in a daily report.
Meanwhile, the daily growth in coronavirus cases was the lowest since Nov.19 - 23 675 more people tested positive for COVID-19, taking the tally to 2.16 million.
Over the same period, recoveries increased by 25,748 to reach 1.66 million, while active cases decreased from 467,126 to 464,546.
Russia's overall case tally is the fifth highest in the world, behind the US, India, Brazil, and France.
Sputnik V Covid vaccine is 95 per cent effective.
According to the country's data on Phase Three trials, it was found that the two-dose vaccine was more than 95 per cent effective - rivalling the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines - 42 days after the first dose.
Alexander Gintsburg, the Gamaleya Centre's director, said the interim results showed that the volunteers' 'bodies have partially reacted to both doses.'
"We expect the efficacy rate to be even higher based on the data three weeks after the second immunisation when the body's strongest and most stable response is achieved," Gintsburg said.
Russia said they faced no adverse effects during the Sputnik V trials and the vaccine could be stored at temperatures of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.
"Such a regime enables the distribution of the vaccine in international markets, as well as expanding its use in hard-to-reach regions, including areas with tropical climates," Russia's media release on the Sputnik vaccine website said.
"The cost of one dose of the Sputnik V vaccine for international markets will be less than $10.
"The first international deliveries of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine will be made to customers in January 2021 based on the existing partnerships with foreign manufacturers.
"Those customers, who have recently submitted their requests, will be able to receive the first batches of the vaccine starting from March 2021."
Despite the promising data, Western experts have previously expressed concern over Russia's vaccine, fearing that its development may be rushed.
However, this hasn't stopped many welcoming the announcement, though several added that they would require more data.
Azra Ghani, an infectious diseases specialist at Imperial College London said: "This is yet more good news demonstrating a high interim vaccine efficacy.
"The lack of any serious adverse events in approximately 20,000 trial participants is also very encouraging."
Meanwhile, in Australia, a recent survey conducted by the Australian National University has shown only 58 per cent of Australians would be willing receive the jab to protect against Covid-19 if a safe vaccine becomes available.
The report, which surveyed 3,000 adults, found there were 'high levels' of uncertainty towards a coronavirus vaccine, particularly among women and young people, as well as people living in disadvantaged areas.
Those with more populist views and those with stronger religious beliefs were more likely to be hesitant to get vaccinated against the deadly virus.