Amid spurt in Covid-19 cases affecting millions of people across the world, scientists are scrambling to come up vaccine to combat the pandemic. Reportedly, Russia is planning to register the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine this week before it starts mass vaccination in October.
The vaccine, developed by Gamaleya Research Institute and the Russian Defence Ministry will be registered on 12 August, Deputy Health Minister Oleg Gridnev said last Friday, according to a report.
Reportedly, clinical trials of the vaccine began on June 18 and included 38 volunteers. All of the participants developed immunity. The first group was discharged on July 15 and the second group on July 20.
The country is planning to register the vaccine despite WHO and other agencies flagged safety concerns.
Responding to a question on concerns about any vaccine candidate that hits the market in this calendar year, Michael Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said that “we will still have to remain cautious”.
“Should we find that signal we should be able to move into production of that vaccine and begin to use it in human populations, but we will still have to remain cautious as we scale up the number of people vaccinated,” Ryan said.
“Side effects are rare, and they only become apparent when you vaccinate lots and lots of people. So there will still be a need for a monitoring phase even when we start to vaccinate at population level,” he said.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease specialist, questioned the fast-track approach of vaccine development by several countries last week.
On August 3, a “final medical examination” of participants in clinical trials of the vaccine took place at the Burdenko Main Military Clinical Hospital, the Russian Defence Ministry earlier said in a statement.
“I do hope that the Chinese and the Russians are actually testing a vaccine before they are administering the vaccine to anyone, because claims of having a vaccine ready to distribute before you do testing I think is problematic at best,” he said.