Putin announces first ‘registered’ COVID-19 vaccine from Russia’s Gamaleya Institute

A vaccine candidate against the coronavirus, developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute in Russia, is now the first registered vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly announced Tuesday during a government meeting that the vaccine was the first in the world to be registered, and his daughter was among those given the COVID-19-preventing shot, according to the Associated Press.

Human trials of the vaccine were reportedly begun on 18 June, in which all 38 participants developed an immune response, a Sputnik News report said. The president is said to have asked Health Minister Mikhail Murashko to keep him informed on the vaccine’s progress, also noting that he knows “it works quite effectively” and “forms a stable immunity”.

Russia will reportedly begin producing the vaccine soon and already has plans for a massive, country-wide vaccine drive.

The country currently has two COVID-19 vaccine candidates in the race – one, a vaccine being developed by the Vektor State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology. The second is the vaccine that has been developed and now registered, by the Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology along with the Russian Defence Ministry.

As of 1 August, TASS reported that human trials of the Gam-COVID-Vac Lyo – the vaccine candidate from the Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute – are now complete. The process of registering the vaccine will begin as early as 10 to 12 August. The vaccine will then be made available ‘within three to seven days of registration’, as per a Bloomberg report.

TASS reports that the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) Kirill Dmitriev said the people who were injected with Gam-COVID-Vac Lyo have developed immunity on the 21st day after receiving the first dose. He said that their immunity has doubled after they received the second injection.

“I can tell you, from the first and second phase we have a hundred percent of people developing immunity after day 21. It doubles after the second shot. Hundred percent of animals were also protected (against the novel coronavirus),” Dmitriev said.

The Russian Health Minister Murashko said that Russia plans on starting a mass vaccination campaign against the novel coronavirus in October. As per a report by Livemint, the vaccine will be first given to doctors and teachers.

“We plan wider [vaccination] for October because we need to launch a new system of treatment gradually,” Murashko said according to a report by TASS.

The vaccine will also be ‘free of charge’ and the cost will be taken from the country’s budget.

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