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Hungary to be 1st EU nation to test Russia's COVID-19 vaccine

By
Don Jacobson
Vials of Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine are seen at the Nikolai Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, Russia, on August 6. File Photo by RDIF/EPA-EFE
Vials of Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine are seen at the Nikolai Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, Russia, on August 6. File Photo by RDIF/EPA-EFE

Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Hungary is the first member of the European Union that has agreed to receive shipments of Russia's COVID-19 vaccine for clinical testing, officials said.

Hungary will receive the first shipment of the Sputnik V vaccine within 10 days and larger shipments will follow in January.

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"A small quantity of the vaccine will arrive in Hungary next month for clinical trials before larger quantities are imported in the second half of January," Hungarian foreign minister Peter Szijjarto said in a television interview Wednesday.

Documentation to license the vaccine in Hungary will be finalized Thursday, Szijjarto added.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund, which financed the vaccine's development, said it has proven in clinical trials to be more than 90% effective.

The fund said there have been no adverse events during testing, which will continue for several months before beginning a peer-review process.

Some Western scientists have been skeptical of Russia's vaccine, saying the sample size has been too small. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration "wouldn't have accepted a report on 20 cases," Weill Cornell Medical College vaccine researcher John Moore told Science Magazine.

Earlier this week, Pfizer said its vaccine candidate blocked the coronavirus in about 90% of human test subjects during final-stage clinical trials. The announcement was based on preliminary data from the final phase of testing.

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