BY rafael m. doll
The Séchenovski University in Moscow announced yesterday that the clinical experimentation of the first Russian coronavirus vaccine has been completed and has been a complete success. The human guinea pigs have been Russian military men and women who have participated in the tests on their own initiative. This was stated at least a month and a half ago by the Russian Defense Ministry.
The first group of volunteers will be discharged on Wednesday and the second, on July 20, Vadim Tarsov, director of the Institute of Translational Medicine and Biotechnology at the Séchenovski University, told the RIA-Novosti agency. From there and since the drug has demonstrated its ability to create immunity without dangerous side effects to health, the next phase will be to undertake its production on a large scale.
Determining that the vaccine is safe for users was the main objective of the experimentation, since it was established in previous animal tests that it causes the appearance of antibodies against the Wuhan coronavirus. “Séchenovski University has successfully completed volunteer testing of the world’s first coronavirus vaccine,” said Tarásov. The drug was developed by the Moscow Gamaléi National Center for Research in Epidemiology and Microbiology (NITsEM in Russian) in collaboration with the Ministry of Defense.
Tarasov explained that the volunteers were isolated for a long period of time, had limited contacts with the outside world, even before the start of the tests, to exclude coronavirus infection. This prolonged confinement, commented the university manager, “affected the psychological state of the participants in the test.” During the study there were conflicts, increased emotional stress and psychologists had to be used to reduce the tension that arose. Now, the two groups will return to normal life in the next days July 15 and 20, although they will have to continue undergoing medical examinations to assess how their immune system behaves.
For his part, the director of the Institute of Medical Parasitology and Tropical and Vector-Transmission Diseases of the Séchenovski University, Alexánder Lukáshev, stressed to RIA-Nóvosti that the objective of the current clinical study was “to verify the safety of the vaccine for human health ». In his words, “the volunteers were divided into two groups: the first received one dose of the vaccine, the second two.”
Lukáshev assures that “except for an increase in body temperature in the first days after vaccination, the participants in the experiment did not show any negative reaction, they all feel good.” The Russian Ministry of Health previously reported that clinical trials of the vaccine began on June 18. A few days later, the director of the Gamaléi Center, Alexánder Guíntsburg, assured that there is “a high probability that the patient treated with this vaccine will develop immunity against the coronavirus for at least two years and maybe longer.”
In an interview with the Russian military daily Krásnaya Zvezdá (Red Star), Guíntsburg also said, regarding the necessary amount of the medical preparation in order to proceed with a mass vaccination of the population, that “about seventy million doses will be required”, figure that will require a significant productive capacity of the Russian pharmaceutical industry. Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova maintains that, after clinical tests and state registration in August, the production of the vaccine will start in September.
In Russia this year, vaccines are expected to emerge from three institutions, in addition to Gamaléi, the State Scientific Center of Novosibirsk Véktor and the FMBA Institute of Vaccines and Serums in St. Petersburg are also working on it.
Since yesterday, in Russia, 6,615 new cases of coronavirus have been registered, four more than the previous day. The total since the start of the pandemic thus rises to 727,162 infected, of whom 501,061 have been cured. 130 new deaths have also been recorded, 58 fewer than the previous day, and the total stands at 11,335 deaths. Therefore, there are still 214,766 active cases.