(Sechenov Medical University Press Office/TASS/Sipa USA)
Russia will launch massive vaccinations against Covid-19 in October. Medical personnel and teachers will be the first to be vaccinated against the disease. That is what Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said to the Russian state news agency Tass.
A vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow and funded by the Russian state fund RDIF has completed its clinical trials. The developers will now submit the vaccine to regulatory authorities for approval.
The vaccine developed by Gamaleya should receive conditional approval this month. That means that tests will still be performed on around 1,600 people. The vaccine would go into production in September, for massive administration from October. Still, according to Murashko, it will be given to all citizens for free.
The vaccine has been described by Gamaleya as “safe” and is potentially the first to be administered to the general public.
A ‘Sputnik’ moment
Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian government investment fund RDIF, spoke about a ‘Sputnik moment’ last week. He referred to the successful launch in 1957 of a first satellite by the then Soviet Union. “America was amazed when it heard the Sputnik beep in space. The same applies to the vaccine. Russia is first. ”
But the speed with which it has been developed and a lack of information about the vaccine raise concerns in many countries.
Gamaleya will start Phase 3 testing in Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Monday. Normally, a vaccine can only be approved when all phases have been successfully and successfully completed. From then on it can be used in general practices or vaccination agencies.
Murashko added that yet another vaccine is under development at the state research center for Virology and Biotechnology Vector. Two more potential vaccines would be allowed to start clinical trials in the next six to eight weeks.
To date, Russia has 850,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 14,000 deaths