COVID-19 has managed to disrupt modern civilization in just a few months, and has scientists around the world desperately looking for a cure. While more than 100 possible vaccines are being developed at this very moment, Russia might be the first one to launch a clinically tested cure, or at least they say so.
President Vladimir Putin has announced the launch of the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute and the Russian Defence Ministry. While about 4 more vaccines have reached the final stage of human trials, including the cure from Moderna which was being speculated to have a head start on the others, this is the first official COVID-19 vaccine to have been registered.
Alexander Gintsburg, director of the Gamaleya National Research Centre explains that the vaccine uses inanimate particles created on the basis of adenovirus-Sputnik news reports.
However, the vaccine is still under trials, and its effects, along with its efficacy are being studied. Clinical trials of the vaccine started on June 18 and included 38 volunteers. It was found that all of the participants developed immunity, with the first group being discharged on July 15, and the second group on July 20. This is what has led to the unequivocal faith that Putin has placed on the vaccine, who has no doubt that “it works quite effectively” and “forms a stable immunity”, according to Russian news agencies.
“I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks,” said Putin. In fact, the bear riding president has so much confidence in the vaccine that he allowed one of his two daughters to be administered a dose. He notes that she is feeling well, according to Associated Press reports.
He has asked Health Minister Mikhail Murashko to keep him informed about the vaccine, who says that the vaccine will continue its trials while while production gets underway. If things go according to plan, Russia might start mass vaccinations by October. Murashko said members of “risk groups,” such as medical workers, may be offered the vaccine this month.
While all of this may seem very hopeful, the vaccine has to complete the last phase of trials before it can be distributed. While Gintsburg is sure that the vaccine can cause no imminent harm, various industry bodies and pharmaceutical companies have called Russia’s rushed registration dangerous. Many experts argue that Russia might be putting lives at risk by rushing through the scientific trials for personal glory. The US and Russia have been arch-rivals for long and even though the former is now way past the latter on all parameters, many are considering this vaccine as a way for Russia to re-assert its authority in the scientific community.
Moderna, which became one of the front runners in the development of the COVID 19 vaccine, started its trials in mid- march, way before Russia. However, even Moderna started its final trials last month, and does not expect to conclude it any time soon. Moderna is involving as many as 30,000 volunteers for the vaccine, way beyond what Russia has presumably involved. With other companies going through such extensive research before making any substantial claims, one might wonder if Russia is being a little too hasty.
Nonetheless, this is a big news for all of humanity.