Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro has announced he will be asking for volunteers to test the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Russia.
Russia was the first country to officially register a vaccine against the coronavirus on 11 August, but immunologists have raised concerns about the speed with which it has been developed and whether it has undergone the necessary testing.
The Venezuelan government, which has received billions of dollars in loans from Russia to prop up its troubled economy, said it would be willing to take part in clinical trials.
“In the coming days, we’ll be asking for volunteers to get vaccinated,” President Maduro announced on Sunday, while also saying that a nationwide lockdown would resume on Monday to curb the spread of the virus.
Venezuela has fewer than 50,000 registered cases of coronavirus and 381 deaths, a much lower toll than other countries in the region. But health experts say the true figure could be much higher as many Venezuelans don’t get tested for fear of being stigmatised after the government blamed returning migrants for the spread of Covid-19.