New Delhi, Aug 10: The Russian COVID-19 vaccine candidate, being jointly developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute and the country’s Defence Ministry, is set to get registered on August 12 (Wednesday) reports suggest.
This would be the first vaccine candidate against the novel coronavirus to get registered.
News reports quoted Russia’s Deputy Health Minister Oleg Gridnev as confirming that the development. “The vaccine developed by the Gamaleya centre will be registered on August 12. At the moment, the last, third, stage is underway,” Gridnev said.
The junior health minister said that medical professionals and senior citizens will be the first to get vaccinated. Mass production of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine is expected to begin in October.
This development comes days after the World Health Organization (WHO) warned Russian authorities to follow established guidelines for producing safe and effective vaccines. The warning came as Moscow moved swiftly to begin producing vaccine doses.
Dr Anthony Fauci, United States’ top infectious disease specialist, had also questioned the fast-track approach. “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,” he said.
Gamaleya’s candidate is a so-called viral vector vaccine which is based on human adenovirus fused with SARS CoV-2’s spike protein to stimulate an immune response in the body. It is said to be similar to a vaccine candidate being developed by China’s CanSino Biologics.
It was earlier reported that a number of individuals belonging to Russia’s political and business elite had been given early access to the experimental vaccine. Russian billionaires and government officials reportedly started getting shots of a potential vaccine as early as April.