Russia has received preliminary requests for one billion doses of its COVID-19 vaccine from over 20 countries, the Indian Express reported on August 11 quoting Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) CEO Kirill Dmitriev.
Earlier in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia had become the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, a move hailed by Moscow as evidence of its scientific prowess.
The World Health Organisation cautioned Russia last week against rushing through the vaccine and that, coupled with the fact that Russia has only made public the results of phase one of clinical trials has led to scepticism regarding the vaccine's effectiveness and safety.
Putin, however, said the vaccine, developed by Moscow's Gamaleya Institute, was safe and that it had even been administered to one of his daughters.
"I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks," said Putin.
He said he hoped the country would soon start mass producing the vaccine.
Its approval by the health ministry foreshadows the start of a larger trial involving thousands of participants, commonly known as a Phase III trial.
Such trials, which require a certain rate of participants catching the virus to observe the vaccine's effect, are normally considered essential precursors for a vaccine to receive regulatory approval.