The officials of Russia declared that the first corona vaccine released by the nation will be available in the market subjected to approval by the second week of August. Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which is financing the country’s vaccine research, said the vaccine had been proven in trials on animals and humans.
“It’s a Sputnik moment for many people who didn’t expect Russia to be the first,” Mr Dmitriev said, using a reference to the Soviet Union launching the first satellite, the Sputnik 1 in 1957, which beat the US into space.
The Gamaleya Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Russia, which conducted trials of its own vaccine, is relying on scientific knowledge acquired six years ago in the fight against Ebola and the Middle East respiratory syndrome, a disease caused by a corona virus, Mr Dmitriev said. While there are hundreds of different researches going on all over the world to battle the virus, this Russian institute were the first to act.
“We do not expect to be the only vaccine out there but definitely based on research I have seen, our vaccine will be the first to be approved,” he said. “We believe our vaccine in many ways is better than others and we will be completely open to build partnerships to produce it in different parts of the world.”
Russian vaccine developers are using two human Adenovirus vectors, not one, to elicit immune responses. Patients will receive a second booster shot three weeks after the first. This enables the body to produce the necessary antibodies.
The Gamaleya Institute developed what Mr Dmitriev called “a death model on animals”, which proved to be highly effective against the corona virus. “On animals the vaccine showed 100 per cent efficiency,” he said.
“Based on Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials, we also show that 100 per cent of about 100 people generated a very high level of antibodies. We know that the vaccine generates antibodies.”
Russian developers will conduct Phase 3 testing as it registers the vaccine for approval in early August.
“Our understanding is that even if some people may get infected, and we believe that they will not, then the disease will be done in one day or two days because your immune system is very strong to fight it.”
Phase 3 will be carried out in Russia and several other countries, including the UAE, he said. “We expect UAE clinical trials of our vaccines to be held there and another country in the Middle East,” Mr Dmitriev said.
“The regulatory approval will allow us to give the vaccine in August to our medical personnel and there will be tens of thousands of medical personnel who will receive our vaccine,” he added. “In September we will start a gradually massive vaccination of our population.”
Russia expects to produce 30 million vaccines in the country by the end of the year and up to 170 million globally, Mr Dmitriev said. Moscow is partnering with producers in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia to make the vaccine.
“The UAE is a very strategic partner to us. We have clinical trials in the UAE, and it will be one of our key partner countries to work with on possibly producing the vaccine, but definitely doing clinical trials and working jointly,” he said. “We can also supply the UAE with the Oxford vaccine that we will also be producing in Russia. So, the UAE will have a choice to receive the Russian vaccine or the Oxford vaccine.”
Russia, which has more than 827,000 corona cases, is against politicising the race to reach a vaccine and is ready to share its findings with scientists around the world, Mr Dmitriev said.