Aug 11, 2020 - Health

Fauci says he "seriously" doubts Russia's coronavirus vaccine is safe

NIAID director Anthony Fauci testifies during a House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on a national plan to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, on Capitol Hill

NIAID director Anthony Fauci testifies during a July congressional hearing on Capitol Hill. Photo: Kevin DietschI/AFP via Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci cast doubt during a National Geographic discussion due to air this week on the effectiveness of Russia's registered coronavirus vaccine touted by President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.

Why it matters: "Having a vaccine ... and proving that a vaccine is safe and effective are two different things," Fauci told told ABC News' Deborah Roberts in the discussion, expected to air on Thursday. His comments add to the weight of skepticism from scientists around the world on the Russia vaccine. There is no published scientific to support support Putin's claims.

"I hope that the Russians have actually, definitively proven that the vaccine is safe and effective. I seriously doubt that they've done that."
— Anthony Fauci to Roberts

Of note: The World Health Organization issued a statement Tuesday noting that it is following Russia's progress in developing a COVID-19 vaccine, but cautioned that "progress in the fight against the virus should not compromise on safety."

By the numbers: More than 20.1 million people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and over 738,700 have died from the virus worldwide from the virus, per Johns Hopkins.

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