Updated: Aug 12, 2020
Russian vaccine candidate COVID-19, jointly developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute and the Ministry of Defence, is scheduled to be reported on 12 August, reports say. This will be the first vaccine candidate to be reported against the novel coronavirus.
News reports cited Russia's Deputy Minister for Health, Oleg Gridnev, as confirming this progress. “The vaccine developed by the Gamaleya center 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 be vaccinated. Mass production of the Russian VOCID-19 vaccine is expected to begin in October.
This development comes days after the World Health Organization (WHO) urged the Russian authorities to follow existing guidelines for the production of safe and efficient vaccines. The warning came as Moscow moved quickly to start producing vaccine doses.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading infectious disease expert in the United States, has challenged the fast-track approach. "I also hope that the Chinese and the Russians are really testing a vaccine before they send a vaccine to every one, since reports that a vaccine is ready to be administered before you do the study, I think it's problematic at best," he said.
Gamaleya 's candidate is a so-called viral vector vaccine that is based on human adenovirus fused with SARS CoV-2 spike protein to stimulate the body's immune response. It is said to be similar to the vaccine candidate being developed by CanSino Biologics in China.
It has been stated earlier that a number of individuals belonging to Russia's political and business elite have been granted early access to the experimental vaccine. Russian billionaires and government officials are reported to have started receiving shots of a potential vaccine as early as April.