(NEWS.COM) – Russia claims it is on track to pull a "Sputnik" and surprise the world by becoming the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine – in less than two weeks.
The vaccine was created by the state-run, Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute, which is aiming to register it by August 10 or earlier, according to the head of Russia's sovereign wealth fund, which is funding the research.
"It's a Sputnik moment," Kirill Dmitriev told CNN, referring to the Soviet Union's 1957 launch of the world's first successful satellite. "Americans were surprised when they heard Sputnik's beeping. It's the same with this vaccine. Russia will have got there first."
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Mr Dmitriev later told The Wall Street Journal the vaccine, which has gone through two phases of testing – including on Russian soldiers, billionaire tycoons and government officials – would be registered with the Health Ministry by August 14.
The claims have been met with some skepticism over the vaccine's safety and efficacy, and fears Russia has cut corners. The country has not released any scientific data on its vaccine testing to date, although it says it is currently being compiled and will be made available for peer review in early August.