Russia declares the first-ever COVID vaccine, the final stage of clinical trials to test safety and efficacy is to continue.
Russian health workers treating COVID-19 patients will be offered the chance of volunteering to be vaccinated soon after the vaccine’s approval.
Russia’s vaccine candidate, developed by Gamaleya Research Institute and Russian Defence Ministry, is a viral vector vaccine which is based on human adenovirus fused with SARS CoV-2’s spike protein to stimulate an immune response in the body.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on August 11 that Russia had become the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine. He said he hoped the country would soon start mass-producing the vaccine.
Its approval by the health ministry foreshadows the start of a larger trial involving thousands of participants, commonly known as a Phase III trial. Such trials, which require a certain rate of participants catching the virus to observe the vaccine’s effect, are normally considered essential precursors for a vaccine to receive regulatory approval.
The World Health Organisation cautioned Russia last week against rushing through the vaccine and that, coupled with the fact that Russia has only made public the results of phase one of clinical trials, has led to scepticism regarding the vaccine’s effectiveness and safety.
Regulators around the world have insisted that the rush to develop COVID-19 vaccines will not compromise safety. But recent surveys show growing public distrust in governments’ efforts to rapidly-produce such a vaccine.
More than 100 possible vaccines are being developed around the world to try to stop the COVID-19 pandemic. At least four are in final Phase III human trials, according to WHO data.