All other work at the Aesthetic Institute has been suspended and scientists and researchers have been tasked with developing an effective vaccine, said the institute’s director, Alexander Ginsburg.
Gentsburg insisted that the promising results led to the approval of the vaccine even before large-scale human testing was carried out. This test, experts say, is required before any vaccine can be used widely.
“It gave people a choice to either protect themselves or play roulette with a pathogen – will it get infected or not, do it die or not?” He said.
Its name – Sputnik V – dates back to the Soviet Union’s successful launch of its first space satellite in decades.
But Gentsburg told CNN that the Kremlin had not given instructions for the aesthetic.
“We don’t have direct contacts with the Kremlin,” Ginsburg said. “He is not giving us any orders.” The only link to the Kremlin [we have] It’s a picture of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin in my locker, ”Gentsburg laughed, pointing to a picture of Vladimir Putin the Younger decorating his desk – a birthday gift he received 14 years ago from his friends.
“Our job is to isolate and overcome this pathogen, which is exactly what we are doing now. And as we know very well, it can only be defeated with the help of vaccination.”
In addition to skipping widespread human testing before approval, Russian soldiers were used as “volunteers” in early trials, with the institute’s director even injecting himself and his staff with the experimental vaccine, CNN learned as early as April.
Basically, the employees who are involved in developing this vaccine product. I don’t have a lot of employees, so I value each employee very much, ”Ginsburg told CNN. “Any employee getting sick would be a severe blow not only to me personally but also to our workflow. I couldn’t allow this to happen, because any of our employees were lost as a result of the Covid-19 virus.”
“Perhaps we should ask the relatives of those who died if they prefer to vaccinate their loved ones with a vaccine that showed great early results and without side effects, or wait until the end of the trials until these results are confirmed, and I think the answer to this question is clear.”
After months of requests, CNN was allowed an exclusive tour of the actual labs where the vaccine was developed.
Researchers wearing white gloves and coats have been working on the Sputnik V in buildings that have been used for scientific research since the Soviet era.
The head of the laboratory, Vladimir Guchin, said the team used their expertise, as well as the knowledge and technologies that were honed in developing a vaccine for other diseases, possibly to gain an advantage over global pharmaceutical companies that are also looking to create a Covid-19 vaccine.
He said focusing solely on beating the Coronavirus is vital.
“What’s the secret? I think the secret is to focus on this process when your team is really involved. In many pharmaceutical companies you have different projects in which you are involved. But here (we) are focusing on this special mission, people are willing to stay here overnight.”
Russia’s sovereign wealth fund (RDIF), which funds vaccine production, has announced deals to supply hundreds of millions of Sputnik V doses to countries around the world.
He said: “Now would be the time for the United States to seriously consider the Russian vaccine to defend itself against Covid-19.” “Trump wouldn’t be in this position if he was vaccinated with Sputnik in.”
The Kremlin is now saying that Putin himself may get a vaccine soon, ahead of a possible trip to South Korea. He would become the last high-profile Russian to acquire Sputnik in including the defense minister, the mayor of Moscow and one of his daughters, according to Putin.
But the vaccine maker doesn’t seem fazed.
“I don’t feel any pressure, I just feel a certain responsibility for the vaccine product, and I will feel it throughout my life,” Gentsburg said.
Anna Chernova of CNN in Moscow contributed to writing this story.