Russia’s first vaccine against the novel coronavirus is ready, a government official said on Tuesday.
Ruslan Tsalikov, the first deputy defense minister, said two groups of volunteers have successfully completed clinical trials, with all of them having “built up immunity.”
“At the time of discharge, all the volunteers, without exception, built up immunity to the coronavirus and felt well. Thus, the first domestic vaccine against a new coronavirus infection is ready,” he said in an interview with AiF newspaper.
The vaccine, he said, was jointly developed by the Gamaleya National Research Centre for Epidemiology and Microbiology and the Main Military Clinical Burdenko Hospital.
Tsalikov added that the Russian military has “significant scientific potential and extensive experience” in vaccine development, citing as an example its contributions to developing a vaccine against the Ebola virus.
Production approval in August
Russian companies may get the go-ahead for mass production of the COVID-19 vaccine by August, another official said.
Kirill Dmitriyev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), said the next phase of clinical trials will end on Aug. 3, after which the third phase will be launched in Russia, Turkey, the UAE, and Africa.
“We expect approval from regulatory bodies in the Russian Federation in August, and immediately after that we plan to start mass production at the sites of the RDIF’s R-Pharm and Alium companies. We expect approval in other partner countries in September,” he said in a statement.
The official said Russia aims to produce 200 million doses of the vaccine by the end of the year in partnership with five other countries, which he did not name.
According to Dmitriyev, 30 million doses will be made in Russia and the rest in the other countries.
He added that Russia also plans to produce the vaccine being jointly developed by the Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
The Russian vaccine will be delivered together with a unique patented test that identifies special antibodies in the human body that attack the crown-like spikes of the coronavirus, the official said.
“I was myself inoculated with the Russian vaccine. I developed a stable immunity after 20 days, before getting the second maintenance dose, which should extend the immunity to two years,” he said.
Meanwhile, the daily figure of new coronavirus cases in Russia remained below 6,000 on Tuesday.
As many as 5,842 more infections raised the country’s total count to 783,328, with fatalities now over 12,500 and recoveries exceeding 562,000.