Despite apprehensions on the sample numbers of human trials, Russia is preparing a mass vaccination campaign against the novel coronavirus in October, after a vaccine completed clinical trials including Phase III trial on Saturday, August 1, 2020.
Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said the Gamaleya Institute, a state research facility in Moscow, had completed clinical trials preparing the required paperwork to register it, Interfax news agency reported. First to be vaccinated will be the frontline workers, doctors and teachers.
“We plan wider vaccinations for October,” Murashko was quoted as saying. Russia’s first potential COVID-19 vaccine is likely to apply for regulatory approval in August. As of Saturday, Augutst 1, 2020, Russia reported 95 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, taking its total to 14,058 out of a total 845,443 cases.
As already reported, the Gamalei Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology had been working on an adenovirus-based vaccine at a lighting speed and announced its Phase III trials on June 18. The Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University to conduct and complete the trails of the vaccine.
The clinical trials had been conducted on volunteers by the Institute for Translational Medicine and Biotechnology of the Unviersity and the first group of volunteers were discharged on 15 July and the second on 20 July.
The head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Kirill Dmitriev, took pride in claiming Russia’s success in developing a vaccine the same way erstwhile Soviet Union’s 1957 launch of Sputnik 1, the world’s first satellite. Despite questions raised by some Western media whether Moscow is putting national prestige before safety.
More than 100 vaccines are being developed around the world against the COVID-19 pandemic but only four are in final Phase III human trials, according to World Health Organization (WHO) data, including three developed in China and another in Britain. The vaccine developed by Russia is not among them.
Elsewhere, Gilead Sciences, Oxford University’s researchers and American biotech company Moderna are at the forefront of developing a Covid-19 vaccine, while a Canadian and Chinese joint project is equally pushing the date for completion of clinical trials.