On Tuesday, Russia became the first country to announce that it had created a COVID-19 vaccine. The announcement was made by Russian President Vladimir Putin who said that the new vaccine works "quite effectively" against the virus.
Putin also revealed that his daughter had been a part of the tests, and was one of the volunteers who had received the vaccine. While many remain skeptical, the Russian leader states that this is the first vaccine that "forms a stable immunity" against COVID-19. Russia had said that industrial production of new coronavirus vaccine was slated to start in September.
History seems to be repeating itself (after a fashion) as the new vaccine has been named Sputnik V. And we say that because Sputnik was the name of the rocket that launched the first artificial Earth satellite. In a first, October 1957 saw the Soviet Union perform the world's first satellite launch, placing Sputnik 1 into a low Earth orbit.
Against the backdrop of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the US, the launch marked the beginning of the space race. Eventually, the US would overtake Russia, putting 12 men on the moon in succession between 1969 and 1972. No other country or person since then has managed to recreate this feat.
With its Soviet Union link, it must be mentioned that the US too is in the fray to produce a vaccine, as are several other countries. On Tuesday, US health secretary, Alex Azar was quoted as saying that the western country hopes to have an approved vaccine by December.
The name Sputnik V seems to indicate the government's pride in its accomplishment, and underlines the fact that in a global competition of sorts, it has emerged first.
Over the last few months, Russia has emerged as one of the countries worst affected by COVID-19. Ranked fourth globally, it has recorded more than 8,90,000 positive cases till date.