The head of the Russian sovereign wealth fund that finances research on coronavirus vaccines called the Russian race to develop the world’s first coronavirus vaccine “a Sputnik moment” and compared it to the launch of the world’s first satellite in 1957 by the Soviet Union.
Russia’s coronavirus vaccine could be administered to civilians as early as Aug. 15, Interfax cited a source at the state-run Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology. The source said the Health Ministry will likely register the vaccine, which is still in clinical trials by August 12.
In recent months, Russia has rushed to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus.
Russia already plans to give its experimental coronavirus vaccine to health workers next month before the end of clinical trials according to health minister Mikhail Murashko.
The Russian vaccine based on adenovirus vectors, developed by military and government scientists, is in Phase II trials with plans to start the next and final phase after August 3. The vaccine “will be widely used in parallel with Phase III trials”, Interfax quoted Murashko as a statement to reporters.
“Now we will see which categories will get the vaccine first. These will be mainly medical workers and people who deal with the sick. High-risk populations will also get the vaccine first,” Murashko said.
He added that the groups most at risk of COVID-19 infection, such as the elderly or those with health problems, will also be given priority with regard to the vaccine. The Minister did not estimate when this will happen.
Dozens of civilian and military volunteers who are in phase one of the vaccine trials were already released after showing good results. The Ministry of Health will decide whether the vaccine is effective on the basis of the results of the tests reported by Interfax.
Murashko said that 800 people will participate in Phase 3 trials.
“As a result of all this, we will have the ability to meet the demand for the vaccine”
The Russian army said that the vaccine is “ready” after the Phase 1 trials. Health officials were more cautious by saying that the trials are still underway and the state registration process is expected to start after August 3.
The head of the Russian sovereign wealth fund, which finances the tests, said that by the end of 2020 he expects Russia to produce 200 million doses of coronavirus vaccine with foreign partners.