COVID-19 vaccine update | Iran approves Russia's Sputnik V vaccine

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei this month banned the use of vaccines made by the United States and Britain, calling the jabs "completely untrustworthy".

January 26, 2021 / 07:48 PM IST
(Image: Reuters)

(Image: Reuters)

Iran has approved Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Tuesday, in a win for Moscow as it aims to bolster its geopolitical clout.

Iran, which is fighting the Middle East's deadliest outbreak, has said it will only rely on vaccines made by Russia, India or China, while also working to produce a homemade jab.

Russia to distribute over 1 million Sputnik V shots at home by year-end: Minister

After talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Zarif confirmed Sputnik V had been approved on Monday, adding: "In the near future we hope we will be able to purchase it, as well as start joint production."

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei this month banned the use of vaccines made by the United States and Britain, calling the jabs "completely untrustworthy".

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Iran had earlier said it would wait for the World Health Organization's approval of Russia's jab before buying it.

Russia registered the shot -- named after the Soviet-era satellite -- in August last year, before the start of large-scale clinical trials, leaving some experts wary.

Sputnik V's developers have since said the vaccine is more than 90 percent effective and several countries outside of Russia have begun administering it, including Argentina.

Russia last week filed for registration of Sputnik V in the European Union, while EU member Hungary broke ranks and purchased two million doses of the jab before the bloc had approved it.
AFP

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