Moscow’s Sechenov University has “successfully completed tests on volunteers of the world’s first vaccine against Covid-19”, the Russian embassy in India claimed on Sunday.

“Sechenov University has successfully completed tests on volunteers of the world’s first vaccine against #COVID19. The #vaccine is safe. The volunteers will be discharged on July 15 and July 20,” chief researcher Elena Smolyarchuk told TASS,” the embassy tweeted.

According to TASS, Russia’s largest news agency, the “first stage of research on the vaccine at Sechenov University kicked off on June 18 when a group of 18 volunteers were vaccinated.” The second group of 20 volunteers was vaccinated on June 23.

TASS quoted Smolyarchuk as saying that after discharge, the volunteers will remain “under medical supervision on an out-patient basis”.

Before this, China’s Sinovac Biotech became the latest company to start Phase III trials of its coronavirus vaccine candidate, following a fast-track approval by regulators last week. Sinovac has started Phase III trials in Brazil. It will dose nearly 9,000 healthcare professionals working in Covid-19 specialised facilities, news agency Reuters reported. The study will be carried out in partnership with Brazilian vaccine producer the Instituto Butantan.

The vaccine candidates being developed by AstraZeneca-University of Oxford and China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) are the other jabs in late-stage trials. Moderna also plans to start its late-stage trial this month.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 19 vaccine candidates are in the clinical evaluation stage as of July 6.

In India, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin samples are undergoing quality and safety tests at a government facility.

In terms of number of Covid-19 cases, Russia is currently at the fourth spot, with 727,162 confirmed cases and 11, 335 deaths. The US is the worst-affected, followed by Brazil and India.