COVID-19 vaccine phase 2 trials complete, Russia says ready for use
By Vivek Raj | Galatta | Jul 21, 2020, 07:03 pm
Russia's First Deputy Defense Minister Ruslan Tsalikov was led to say the first domestic inoculation of the country's COVID-19 vaccine developed with the Defense Ministry is ready for use after completing the Phase 2 trials. In an interview to the newspaper, Argumenty i Fakty, published on Tuesday, Tsalikov said a second group of volunteers, who had finished their Phase 2 trials on Monday, developed immunity from the novel coronavirus and felt fine. In regard to when the Phase 3 large-scale trial would begin or its production, he did not comment.
In a request for a comment, there was no immediate response from the Defense Ministry. The Interfax news service cited the Health Ministry's response to the statement saying tests are still ongoing for the vaccine. Sergei Netesova, former executive at the state-run virology center in Novosibirsk, Vector, said, "The third phase has not started yet, or even been announced. The reason they’re in such a rush is completely incomprehensible." It is to be noted that the virology center is also working with the team on an inoculation.
It has been reported that the state-run Gamaleya Institute in Moscow and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) are collaborating with the army in developing a COVID-19 vaccine. The Phase 3 trials, which are scheduled to start on August 3, will involve thousands of people in Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. RDIF's head Kirill Dmitriev, in a statement last week said, the distribution for the coronavirus vaccine could happen around September.
According to reports, around 30 million COVID-19 vaccine doses could be made by Russia domestically in 2020, while 170 million can be produced abroad. Dmitriev has said five countries have shown interest in the vaccine's production while a few others have also come forward to show their willingness to produce it.
Currently, the fourth-worst affected nation in the world due to coronavirus, Russia has sped up its testing process including funding for the production of the vaccine even before it is known to give satisfactory results. The decision has been taken in view of the pandemic, which has left thousands dead worldwide including creating havoc economically. It is to be noted that the process of Phase 3 trials usually takes months in developed economies so as to better understand the efficacy of a drug.