News

Russia to start COVID-19 vaccine production in 2 weeks

Initial batches of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine rolling off production lines within as soon as two weeks will be earmarked for immunizing doctors before going to the general public, the country’s health minister said Wednesday.

Vaccine production in Russia will be domestic-oriented, geared to covering internal demands, Mikhail Murashko said at a news conference in Moscow giving additional details about the much-anticipated vaccine.

Meanwhile, the Russian Fund of Direct Investment (RDIF) is negotiating the production of the vaccine abroad.

Asked about safety, Alexander Gintsburg, head of the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology – which developed the pioneering vaccine – said the vaccine is based on a well-researched scientific platform dating back decades.

“The platform has been in development for 25 years for the purpose of gene therapy, but at the end of 2014 it was used to create drugs to fight the most rapidly changing viruses,” he said.

“The same platform was used to develop vaccines against Ebola, MERS [Middle East Respiratory Syndrome], and a number of other diseases. It allowed the creation of an Ebola vaccine within a fairly short period of 15 months, which later was highly assessed by the WHO [World Health Organization].”

He added: “The technology is not unique, it is also used in the UK and China, but in our case, it has its advantages.”

The vaccine will be monitored and it has a digital passport, with all its moves and inoculation results set to be traced and examined, he explained.

In continuing to observe all the vaccine recipients to date in all stages of trials – people and animals – no one got infected, Murashko said. www.aa.com.tr