A Russian vaccine for the Chinese coronavirus, developed by military scientists at the Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology, is ready, declared First Deputy Defense Minister Ruslan Tsalikov.
“Final assessments on the results of testing by our specialists and scientists of the National Research Center have been already made. At the moment of release all volunteers without exception developed immunity against the coronavirus and felt normal. So, the first domestic vaccine against the novel coronavirus infection is ready,” Tsalikov told the newspaper, reported Russian state news agency TASS.
The Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade told TASS that on June 30 documents for registering the vaccine were submitted to the Health Ministry. In June, the ministry issued a permit for clinical tests of a liquid and freeze-dried vaccines developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology jointly with the Russian defense ministry’s research institute No48. The liquid vaccine is being tested on 43 volunteers at the Burdenko Main Military Hospital and the freeze-dried vaccine is being tested at the Sechenov Medical University, also on 43 volunteers.
The Defense Ministry reported on Monday that jointly with the Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology it had successfully completed clinical trials of the coronavirus vaccine on volunteers on the basis of the Burdenko Main Military Hospital.
The Russian government has made it a priority to be early with vaccine development. Some analysts have questioned the Kremlin’s figures on coronavirus deaths, saying they are underreported. Just this week, Russia claimed that the Russian Federation had a much lower death rate than most other countries.
Russia’s Health Ministry disputed the deputy defense minister’s characterization, saying the vaccine’s trials have not yet ended. Alexei Kuznetsov, assistant to the health minister, said the ministry plans to work on the candidate vaccine’s state registration process after Phase II of the trials, reported The Moscow Times.
Kirill Dmitriyev, whose Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) funds the trials, has said he expects the 100-person Phase II trial to end Aug. 3. Dmitriyev said he hopes to produce 200 million doses of coronavirus vaccine with foreign partners by the end of 2020. He said Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and other countries would be involved in Phase III trials.
“Immediately after that we are planning to begin mass production,” Dmitriyev said in a statement on Russia’s state anti-coronavirus portal.
Good for the Russians if they’re successful. If their vaccine works they’ll have a monopoly on production. That’s good old capitalist spirit at work.