Former FDA Commissioner Warns Against Russian-Made COVID-19 Vaccine

( Scott Gottlieb, a former commissioner for the Food and Drug Administration, recently warned against trusting a vaccine for the Chinese coronavirus developed in Russia.

During an interview on CNBC on Tuesday, Gottlieb put a dampener on the news that a Russian lab has created a viable vaccine that is effective in stopping people contracting COVID-19. President Vladimir Putin even told the world that one of his daughters has already been inoculated with the vaccine.

Gottlieb, however, said that he wouldn’t risk taking the virus.

“I wouldn’t take it, certainly not outside of a clinical trial right now,” he said. “It appears that it’s only been tested in several hundred patients at most. In some reports, it’s been in as few as a hundred patients.”

Gottlieb said that it’s not a trivial vaccine because of the technical complexity involved in manufacturing a coronavirus vaccine. He reminded CNBC that the Chinese have been developing an “adenoviral vector vaccine” through a company called CanSino, and that the vaccine is still undergoing clinical trials in Canada. The data on the vaccine, he said, isn’t encouraging.

It means the Russian vaccine could, therefore, be rushed.

“A lot of people had antibodies to the viral vector itself, and so they effectively neutralized the viral vector because it was based on a common cold, the virus that was being used to deliver the gene sequence in this case,” he continued. “And it’s not clear how efficacious the Russian vaccine is going to be and whether or not people have some prior immunity to the adenovirus that they are using to deliver the coronavirus gene sequence.”

Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute is responsible for the vaccine, which has since been approved by Russia’s health ministry. Putin told the press that the vaccine has now been proven to be “efficient” and capable of forming a “stable immunity.” Putin also said that it has passed all necessary tests.

On Twitter, Gottlieb suggested that the announcement from Russia might be an attempt at pushing the United States into rushing its own vaccine development or make America doubt its own capabilities.

“Russia was reported to be behind disinformation campaigns to sow doubts in U.S. about our Covid vaccines; and today’s news that they ‘approved’ a vaccine on the equivalent of phase 1 data may be another effort to stoke doubts or goad U.S. into forcing early action on our vaccines,” he said.