Amid the race to develop aCovid-19 vaccine, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched acoronavirus vaccine, touted as the world’s first such vaccine, too. The registration of the vaccine lays ground for mass inoculation even as the final stages of clinical trials to test safety and efficacy continue.
The announcement came in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic that has infected more than 20 million people and killed nearly 750,000 worldwide, thus, crippling world economies.
The president has asked Health Minister Mikhail Murashko to keep him informed about theCovid-19 vaccine, while at the same time noting that he knows “it works quite effectively” and “forms a stable immunity”, according to Russian news agencies.
“This morning, for thefirst time in the world, a vaccine against the new coronavirus was registered” in Russia, Putin said during a televised video conference call with government ministers, as per news agency AFP.
Putin further thanked everyone who worked on the vaccine’s development and described it as “a very important step for the world”. He hopes the country’s research body will soon start mass production of coronavirus vaccine.
“I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks,” said Putin.
He emphasized that the vaccine underwent the necessary tests. He added that one of his two daughters has received a shot of the vaccine and is feeling well, according to Associated Press reports.
However, the vaccine’s registration is conditional and trials will continue while production gets underway, said Murashko.
Murashko also added that the first Russian vaccine against the coronavirus will begin to be produced at two sites – the Gamaleya Research Institute and the company Binnopharm.
“The two-stage injection plan helps form a lasting immunity. The experience with vector vaccines and two-stage scheme shows that immunity lasts for up to two years”, the Health Ministry said, as reported by Sputnik News.
Moreover, the president has tasked the government with ensuring funding for flu and coronavirus vaccination after vaccines are registered, noting that up to 60% of Russians should be vaccinated against flu.
Russian health ministry had recently said mass vaccinations could begin by October. Murashko said members of “risk groups,” such as medical workers, may be offered the vaccine this month.
Russia’s first coronavirus vaccine is developed jointly by Gamaleya Research Institute and the Russian Defence Ministry.
Clinical trials of the vaccine began on June 18 and included 38 volunteers. All of the participants developed immunity. The first group was discharged on July 15 and the second group on July 20.
In an earlier report, the final check-up of volunteers testing the coronavirus vaccine showed immunity in all participants, the Russian Defence Ministry said.
Alexander Gintsburg, director of the Gamaleya National Research Centre, said that vaccine used inanimate particles created on the basis of adenovirus, according to Sputnik News.
He said there are no concerns that the vaccine could potentially cause harm to a person’s health. “The particles and objects that can reproduce their own kind are the ones that are considered alive. The particles in question cannot multiply,” he added.
Amid the testing and development, Russian health workers treating Covid-19 patients is planned to be offered the chance of volunteering to be vaccinated soon after the vaccine’s approval, a source told Reuters last month. Authorities are considering getting doctors and teachers vaccinated against the virus initially as well.
In April, Putin ordered state officials to shorten