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Russia to Launch World’s First COVID-19 Vaccine

Russia’s coronavirus vaccine is all set to get registered on August 12, 2020, making Russia the first country to register a vaccine to battle the novel coronavirus.

In a race to find a vaccine that will protect people from the novel coronavirus, six candidates from around the world are now in phase 3 human trials. Recent reports from Russia claimed that one of their candidates has completed all three phases of human clinical trials successfully.

Currently, Russia has two COVID-19 vaccine candidates — one, a vaccine being developed by the Vector State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology. The second is a vaccine being produced by the Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology along with the Russian Defence Ministry.

Russia will reportedly begin producing the vaccine soon and already has plans for a massive, country-wide vaccine drive.

As of 1 August, according to a report, human trials of the Gam-COVID-Vac Lyo – the vaccine candidate from the Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute – are now complete. The process of registering the vaccine will begin as early as 10 to 12 August. The vaccine will then be made available ‘within three to seven days of registration’, as per a Bloomberg Report.

“Clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine developed by the Gamaleya center are over, paperwork is underway for the vaccine’s registration,” said Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko.

According to Nikolay Briko, Russian Health Ministry’s Chief Non-resident Epidemiologist, “This vaccine wasn’t developed from scratch, the Gamaleya Research Center had a serious, significant research base on vaccines. The technology of developing such a vaccine was perfected. So perhaps, the process was sped up due to the fact that the vaccine was not created from scratch. It is important that all stages (of vaccine research – TASS) are followed and that international requirements are adhered to.”

TASS reports that the Head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) Kirill Dmitriev said the people who were injected with Gam-COVID-Vac Lyo have developed immunity on the 21st day after receiving the first dose.

He also added that their immunity has doubled after they received the second dose.

“I can tell you, from the first and second phase we have a hundred percent of people developing immunity after day 21. It doubles after the second shot. Hundred percent of animals were also protected (against the novel coronavirus),” Dmitriev added.

However, Russia has not published any findings from its vaccine trials. The World Health Organisation has been tracking various COVID-19 candidates and has made no mention of the vaccine clearing all three phases of human trials.

WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said at a press conference, “Sometimes individual researchers claim they have found something, which is of course, as such, great news. 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.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States cautioned, “I do hope that the Chinese and the Russians are actually testing the vaccine before they are administering the vaccine to anyone.”

Director of the Global Health Program at the Council on Foreign Relations, Thomas Bollyky told The Associated Press, “Vaccines that are not properly tested can cause harm in many ways — from a negative impact on health to creating a false sense of security or undermining trust in vaccinations.”

The Russian Defence Ministry also clarified that it “tests the vaccine on volunteers in full compliance with the acting legislation and scientific methodological regulations, in order to prevent further risks, without any attempt to reduce the duration of the research.”