The scientist behind Russia's 'Sputnik' vaccine

This man may hold the cure to the coronavirus pandemic in his hands.

Alexander Gintsburg is the head of the Gamaleya Institute -- the organization that produced Russia's Sputnik V vaccine.

Its development is coming at a rapid pace -- amid what he calls "wartime" conditions -- and in an interview with Reuters he's defending the speed.

"A pandemic is an emergency condition, people are dying just like during a war. Our government adopted this order for fast-tracking (vaccination), but this fast-tracked pace is not synonymous, as some media have suggested, with corners being cut. Definitely not."

Russia has pushed ahead with its potential COVID-19 vaccine at top speed with mass public vaccinations alongside the main human trial, raising concerns among some observers that it was prioritizing national prestige over solid science and safety.

Russia plans to share preliminary results of its COVID-19 vaccine trial based on the first six weeks of monitoring participants, and it may be the first country to do so.

"Apart from doubts (about our vaccine), I'd like to hear specific facts that show why these doubts have arisen. Today, there are no indications that the side effects of the vaccine are any different from those vaccines that are in the national vaccination calendars of hundreds of other countries."

Gintsburg said no serious side-effects had been reported during the final stage trial so far, while minor, anticipated side-effects had occurred among 14% to 15% of the volunteers.

He also defended the vaccine's early registration for public use, saying it was the most ethical approach.

Russia plans to test in several countries, including Belarus, Brazil and India.

Video Transcript

- This man may hold the cure to the coronavirus pandemic in his hands. Alexander Ginstburg is the head of the Gamaleya Institute, the organization that produced Russia's Sputnik 5 vaccine. Its development is coming at a rapid pace amid what he calls, wartime conditions. And in an interview with Reuters, he's defending the speed.

ALEXANDER GINTSBURG: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]

INTERPRETER: A pandemic is an emergency condition. People are dying, just like during a war.

ALEXANDER GINTSBURG: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]

INTERPRETER: Our government adopted this order for fast tracking, but this fast tracking pace is not synonymous, as some media have suggested, with corners being cut.

ALEXANDER GINTSBURG: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]

INTERPRETER: Definitely not.

ALEXANDER GINTSBURG: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]

- Russia has pushed ahead with its potential COVID-19 vaccine at top speed, with mass public vaccinations alongside the main human trial, raising concerns among some observers that it was prioritizing national prestige over solid science and safety. Russia plans to share preliminary results of its COVID-19 vaccine trial based on the first six weeks of monitoring participants. And it may be the first country to do so.

ALEXANDER GINTSBURG: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]

INTERPRETER: Apart from doubts, I'd like to hear specific facts that show why these doubts have arisen.

ALEXANDER GINTSBURG: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]

INTERPRETER: Today there are no indications that the side effects of the vaccine are any different from those vaccines that were in the national vaccination calendars of hundreds of other countries.

ALEXANDER GINTSBURG: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN]

- Gintsburg said no serious side effects had been reported during the final stage trials so far, while minor anticipated side effects had occurred among 14% to 15% of the volunteers. He also defended the vaccine's early registration for public use, saying it was the most ethical approach. Russia plans to test in several countries, including Belarus, Brazil and India.