Russia defended the “wartime” rollout of its coronavirus vaccine on Monday, saying the pace of its vaccine development was necessary under the “wartime” conditions of the pandemic. The country is planning to share the preliminary results of its six-week COVID-19 vaccine trial despite warnings from health experts that its vaccine development program might be too rushed.

Alexander Gintsburg of the Gamaleya Institute, the manufacturer of the Sputnik V vaccine, said the pandemic requires that a vaccine be developed at top speed. “People are dying just like during a war,” he said. “But this fast-tracked pace is not synonymous, as some media have suggested, with corners being cut. No way,” he added.

Gintsburg also assured that although his team had been working on tight deadlines to produce a coronavirus vaccine, they make sure that all guidelines for testing are met to ensure that Sputnik V is safe and effective before it is rolled out.

If Russia pushes ahead with the publishing of interim trial results based on the 42 days of monitoring volunteers, then the country will be the first in the world to announce any data from a final-stage coronavirus vaccine trial. Russia vaccinated the first of its 5,000 volunteers on Sept. 9, which means the six-week trial will end on Oct. 21. Russia said it could publish the interim results of the trial in late October or November.

Aside from Russia, several other Western developers are already in the final-stage trials of their coronavirus vaccines. Many of these trials have been going on for more than 42 days but have not published interim results.

 Drugmakers said they would rather wait until the trials yield enough infections before they publish data than announce a specific date for the publishing of interim results. However, Gintsburg said sharing results after 42 days would be enough to show the general trend in the data.  He also said there has been growing public interest in the results of the final-stage trials of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine.

“For me, for example, it is too short,” he said. “But for people who are interested in how things are going, it is already too long.”

Vaccine Discussion about the Cuba's life-saving lung cancer vaccine called CimaVax-EGF is growing rapidly. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard