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Health News

Israel to examine Russia's COVID-19 vaccine, minister says

FILE PHOTO: A handout photo provided by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) shows samples of a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, in Moscow, Russia August 6, 2020. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF)/Handout via REUTERS

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel will examine Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine and enter negotiations to buy it if it is found to be a “serious product”, Israel’s health minister said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday his was the first country to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine, after less than two months of human testing. His health minister on Wednesday dismissed allegations that the vaccine was unsafe.

“We are following vigilantly every report, no matter what country,” Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein told reporters. “We have already discussed the reports from the research centre in Russia about the vaccine development.

“If we are convinced it is a serious product, we will also try to enter negotiations. But I don’t want to delude anyone. The ministry’s professional staff is working on this all the time. The vaccine will not come tomorrow,” he said.

Israel is developing its own vaccine candidate and intends to begin human trials as early as October. It has also signed with Moderna and Arcturus Therapeutics for the option to buy their potential vaccines.

Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Nick Macfie

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