Russia is planning to become the first country in the world to produce a vaccine for the deadly coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged the world since early this year. A research institute based in Moscow is planning to register its vaccine candidate by mid-August.
Coronavirus vaccine soon?
The Head of Russia's Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Kirill Dmitriev, said the coronavirus vaccine hopeful has undergone two phases of testing and is expected to be registered with the Health Ministry by August 14, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
The RDIF is coordinating with the Gamaleya Institute for Epidemiology and Microbiology and Sistema, a Russian conglomerate, to develop and produce its coronavirus vaccine candidate.
Dmitriev stated they have rigorous procedures to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the product and noted they would be following all of them. He also confidently stated he previously injected himself with the vaccine.
The development of the vaccine went through tests on several volunteer soldiers and is one of two coronavirus vaccine candidates being put through late-stage trials in Russia.
The registration of a drug is the most crucial part to verify its safety and effectiveness before it is made available for medical use. The process used by Russia is similar to the approval required from the Food and Drug Administration in the United States.
Despite the plans to register the vaccine in August, Russia has not provided evidence of its claim that the injection is safe and effective to use.
Gamaleya Institute officials were not available to comment about the vaccine candidate. Sistema stated it would become involved with the manufacture of the vaccine once it was fully registered and prepared for mass production.
According to CNN, critics said the country's aggressive push to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus is brought by mounting pressure from the Kremlin which focused on branding Russia as a scientific force to be reckoned with.
Difficulties of development
Although dozens of coronavirus vaccines are being tested around the world, some of which are entering late-stage trials, many experts are cautioning that there remains much more research to be done before the treatments can be approved.
A few vaccine candidates have entered their Phase 3 trials while Russia is still on its Phase 2 tests. Developers of the treatment are targeting completion of the development by August 3 and begin their Phase 3 testings while vaccinating medical workers in the meantime.
Taking a similar approach to other global scientific establishments, Russia's scientists stated their vaccine candidate was able to reach late-stage trials quickly due to being a modified version of a previous treatment that is used to cure other diseases.
The most notable of the vaccine development companies is Moderna, whose efforts are being supported by the United States government and had recently begun Phase 3 testings, use a vaccine it had developed for MERS as its base for the coronavirus version.
While the procedure had accelerated the process, US and European regulators are requiring the company to comply with the full safety and efficacy tests of the vaccine.
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