First vaccine against the coronavirus registered inRussia, Augus 11, 2020

Thursday, 13 August 2020
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On August 11, 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin during a cabinet meeting announced that the world's first vaccine against COVID-19, named "Sputnik V" were registered in Russia. The vaccine is expected to go into civilian circulation on 1 January 2021, according to the registration certificate.

Whereupon the World Health Organisation announced that the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 was officially a pandemic, the Gamaleya National Research Centre of Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Russian Healthcare Ministry began to work on a vaccine against novel coronavirus. In the 1990s, it was the Gamaleya Center that conducted the first successful experiments to develop gene therapy drugs. Due to the further development of this project, they created a universal platform for the development of vaccines against various infectious diseases which was used for creating vaccines against Ebola fever, and another type of coronavirus, MERS. As a result, a group of developers led by Dr A. Gintsburg has created a coronavirus vaccine in the shortest possible time and received a Russian Federation patent for the invention.

The preclinical trials of the vaccine were carried out at the Gamaleya Centre and the Central Scientific Research Institute of the Defence Ministry. The clinical trials took place in the Sechenov University of the Healthcare Ministry and the Burdenko Military Hospital. According to the results, the vaccine has shown high effectiveness and safety. Vaccine production will now begin at two sites: the Gamaleya Centre of the Russian Healthcare Ministry and the company Binnopharm. The vaccine will be gradually introduced among civilians, and, first of all, it will be offered to those whose work involves dealing with infected patients, especially medical workers, teachers, policemen and elderly people.

The World Health Organisation and Russian health authorities have already been discussing the process for possible WHO prequalification for Covid-19 vaccine. According WHO spokesman T. Jasarevic, the prequalification of any vaccine includes the rigorous review and assessment of all required safety and efficacy data which will take quite a lot of time. At the same time the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) is investing in the production and promotion of the vaccine abroad. The RDIF CEO K. Dmitriev says that Russia has already received preliminary requests for 1 billion doses of its vaccine against COVID-19 from over 20 countries.

Basically, the Phase 3 of clinical trials is starting right after the registration, on August 12, 2020. Russia is capable of producing 500 million doses of the vaccine in the next 12 months, with production expected to be conducted abroad as well and clinical trials set to start soon in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and the Philippines. The head of the RDIF stressed at a press conference that Russia is ready to cooperate on the coronavirus vaccine research with the USA and European countries because it should not be political and competitive. Russia is open to sharing the technology with diverse partners and urges to put aside all political difficulties.

Latin America and Russia also have a promising opportunity to establish partnership on the vaccine, and in the next couple of days the negotiations with some Latin American countries, such as Brazil and Argentine, will be finalised. Russia hopes that the mass production in Latin America would start by November.

The Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Botswana

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