Russia was one of the first few countries to talk about the vaccine for the lethal virus, Corona Virus, and its developments in the initial stages of it’s outbreak. Now, it has registered the world’s first Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine on Tuesday, Aug 11. It was earlier announced that the vaccine that is developed by Gamaleya Research Institute in collaboration with Russian Defence Ministry will be registered on Wednesday, August 12.
— TASS (@tassagency_en) August 11, 2020
However, the news has now surfaced that Russia has registered the first COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday itself, announced by Russia President, Vladamir Putin. The Russia president also announced that one of his daughters has taken the shot of the vaccine and is feeling better. The Russia Health Ministry has emphasized that doctors and teachers will be the first to get access to the vaccine.
— TASS (@tassagency_en) August 11, 2020
In April this year, the State Officials were ordered to shorten clinical trials for a variety of drugs, including the potential COVID-19 vaccines by Russia president, Vladamir Putin. The clinical trial that began on June 17 with 76 volunteers injected half of them with the vaccine in the liquid form and the remaining half with the vaccine that came in the form of soluble powder, according to news agency AP.
Director of the Gamaleya Research Institute, Alexander Gintsburg, has said that there are no concerns of the vaccine causing harm to anyone. “The particles and objects that can reproduce their own kind are the ones that are considered alive. The particles in question cannot multiply. Some people naturally have a fever when the immune system of the person being vaccinated receives a powerful boost but this ‘side-effect’ can easily be overcome by taking paracetamol,” said Gintsburg.
“The results of the check-up clearly demonstrate an unmistakable immune response attained through the vaccination. No side effects or issues with the body of the volunteers were found”, said the Ministry, according to Sputnik News. The Russian Defence Ministry stated that the initial test reports showed immunity in all participants. “We are very much counting on starting mass production in September.” said Industry Minister Denis Manturov in an interview published by the state news agency TASS.
“The COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Gamaleya centre will be registered on August 12. At the moment, the last, third, stage is underway. The trials are extremely important. We have to understand that the vaccine must be safe. Medical professionals and senior citizens will be the first to get vaccinated.” reported Gridnev. The vaccine will be tested on 1,600 people after registration to ensure safety as well as effectiveness on COVID-19 positive patients.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) urged Russia, on Tuesday, to follow the established guidelines for producing safe and effective vaccines after Moscow announced plans to swiftly start producing COVID-19 jabs. “There are established practices and there are guidelines out. Between finding or having a clue of maybe having a vaccine that works, and having gone through all the stages, is a big difference.” WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told reporters at the United Nations in Geneva.
Not only has the Gamaleya Research Institute started formulating a vaccine but Russia’s Vektor State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology has also started developing a COVID-19 vaccine.
While it is good news that a hopeful cure to the most catastrophic pandemic of the year will finally be launched, there are countless concerns regarding the same. “I’m worried that Russia is cutting corners so that the vaccine that will come out may be not just ineffective, but also unsafe,” says Lawrence Gostin, a global public health law expert at Georgetown University. “I do hope that the Chinese and the Russians are actually testing a vaccine before they are administering the vaccine to anyone, because claims of having a vaccine ready to distribute before you do testing I think is problematic at best.” said one of the top US infectious disease specialist, Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The production of the vaccine will begin in September and be made available across the country in October to vaccinate each and every citizen. Surprisingly, among the raised concerns is that WHO claims to have received no official data regarding the Russian vaccine. The other countries like the USA and India are also racing to bring their indigenous vaccine soon. The Oxford University of USA in collaboration with AstraZeneca is, possibly, the next in the list to launch a vaccine for catastrophic virus. The Hyderabad based Bharat Biotech in India is also in its critical stage of clinical trials and may produce the vaccine soon in India.