As Russia looks to become the first country in the world to have an approved COVID-19 vaccine, officials at the World Health Organization (WHO) have warned about developing a vaccine that does not follow its international guidelines.

A Moscow research facility said it expects to have approval of a vaccine for the virus before Aug. 15, with vaccinations expected to start in October, Reuters reported.

Gamaleya Institute, along with the Russian Direct Investment Fund, has said it has completed early human trails of an adenovirus-based vaccine, which sources for Reuters said will win regulatory approval in Russia while the large-scale trial is underway.

“(Regulatory) approval will be in the first two weeks of August,” the source said. “Aug. 10 is the expected date, but it will definitely be before Aug. 15. All (trial) results so far are highly positive.”

But the Russian vaccine is not one of the six on the WHO’s list that has been approved for Phase 3 clinical testing.

"Sometimes individual researchers claim they have found something, which is of course, as such, great news," WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told reporters on Tuesday.

"But between finding or having a clue of maybe having a vaccine that works, and having gone through all the stages, is a big difference."

The news of the early COVID-19 vaccine has come under suspicion as Russia races to be the first country to bring a treatment to the market. Some wonder if the country is putting national prestige before science and safety.

The head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Kirill Dmitriev has denied the push by Russia, and said on Tuesday in an interview with CNN that “the Ministry of Health in Russia is following all necessary strict procedures. No corners are being cut.”

Earlier this month, security officials from the U.S., Canada and U.K. said that Russian hackers tried to steal COVID-19 vaccine data and treatment research from a number of global institutions and companies. Russian officials denied the allegations.

Russia has reported over 859,700 positive coronavirus cases with over 14,300 COVID-19 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Scientists around the world are working at breakneck speed to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 Scientists around the world are working at breakneck speed to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 Photo: AFP / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS