Russia Becomes World’s 1st Country To Register COVID-19 Vaccine
Nearly nine months in the COVID-19 outbreak, President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia had become the World’s 1st country to officially register a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine and declare it ready for use.
The vaccine will be marketed in foreign markets under the name ‘Sputnik V’, after the world’s first satellite Sputnik launched by Soviet Union on October 4, 1957 during the space race.
Sputnik V is an adenovirus based viral vector vaccine combined with the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to induce an immune response in the body. The vaccine uses the weakened virus to deliver small parts of a pathogen and stimulate an immune response.
The name signifies the country’s success in being the first to have a vaccine approved. Still the concern is that the vaccine has to complete its final trial. Phase III or final stage trial involves ten thousand people, to prove vaccine is safe and really works.
The vaccine has been developed jointly by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology and the Russian Defence Ministry. It is expected that Russia will make the vaccine available to the public on Jan 1, 2021.
Russia has only made public the results of phase-I of the clinical trials, which they claimed, were successful and produced the desired immune response. In mid – July, Russia’s TASS news agency said the Defense Ministry had claimed that none of the volunteers had reported any complaints and experienced no side – effects.
PHASE-I human trials started on June 17 among 76 volunteers, with most being recruited from the military. Half were injected with a vaccine in liquid form and the other half with a vaccine that came as soluble power.
PHASE-II trails were started on July 13. On August 3, Russian media reported that Gamaleya Institute had completed clinical trials. It usually take a few months to be completed.
Closely resembled a vaccine for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) disease, caused by another corona virus, that had already been tested extensively.
India is among 20 countries which has expressed interest in obtaining the vaccine Sputnik V’s Phase-3 clinical trials.
An expert committee headed by NITI Aayog member VK Paul will meet to consider the logistics and ethical aspects of procuring and administering the COVID-19 vaccine, So that it can be distributed in India.
The production of the Sputnik V in Russia is financed by Russia Development Investment Fund or RDIF (Russia’s sovereign wealth fund) on the basis of production capacities of its portfolio companies, R-Pharm and Binnopharm, a part of the Alium Group. More than 20 countries had shown interest in producing the Russian vaccine.
Phase-III clinical trials will be held in different countries, including India, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Brazil and Philippines.