Russian scientists have on Monday (July 13, 2020), claimed to have ‘successfully’ completed clinical trials for the world’s first COVID19 vaccine on human volunteers.
The scientists, while making the claims, expressed their hope that the world’s first coronavirus vaccine will be distributed to patients as soon as next month (August).
The Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University launched clinical trials of the potential COVID19 vaccine on 38 paid volunteers in June. Around the same time, Russia’s military began a parallel two-month clinical trial of the same vaccine developed by the state-run Gamalei National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology.
The Gamalei center’s head Alexander Gintsburg told the state-run TASS news agency that he hopes the vaccine will “enter civil circulation” on August 12-14. He added that he hopes private companies would begin mass production by September.
“The research has been completed and it proved that the vaccine is safe,” Yelena Smolyarchuk, the head of Sechenov University’s clinical research center, told TASS of its trial.
The Sechenov University’s two groups of volunteers will be discharged Wednesday (July 15, 2020) and next Monday (July 20, 2020) after spending 28 days in isolation to protect them from exposure to other infections, she added.
The volunteers, aged 18 to 65, will be monitored for six more months after their release.
Earlier in July, Smolyarchuk said that some participants experienced typical responses to injections, such as headaches and an elevated body temperature, which resolved within 24 hours.
“The Russian Health Ministry will make a decision on the substance effectiveness based on the results of” biochemical tests, the university said in a July 3 press release.
The ministry “hopes to finalize the trials … before fall,” it added.
The Gamalei Research Center said earlier in May that its own scientists were self-administering the vaccine, a move criticized by some experts.
The decision to involve the general public in vaccine trials underscores Russia’s desire to move ahead fast with its testing of the sought-after coronavirus vaccine.
Russia has the world’s fourth-highest number of coronavirus infections after the United States, Brazil and India. The Kremlin has previously said the nation’s scientists are working on almost 50 different vaccine projects, while scientists have said developing a vaccine is “a question of national prestige.”
Though the race to develop a vaccine that would help the population develop herd immunity is in full swing around the world, recent research suggests that asymptomatic patients could have a weaker immune response to COVID19 because their antibodies fade as early as two months after infection.
“Full coronavirus vaccine unlikely by next year” – Expert
Meanwhile, contrary to claims by the Russian scientists, experts have warned there is little chance of a 100 percent effective coronavirus vaccine by 2021, urging people to take social distancing measures more seriously.
French epidemiologist Arnaud Fontanet while giving the warning on Sunday (July 12, 2020) said, “A vaccine is several years in development.
“Of course, there is an unprecedented effort to develop a vaccine, but I would be very surprised if we had that was effective in 2021,” Arnaud Fontanet who is a member of the team of scientists advising the French government on the crisis added.
“While we would probably have one that worked partially, we were very far from the end of the crisis”, he said.
That being the case, “we have to live with this virus” he said. And since another lockdown was out of the question, people had to go back to “more serious habits”.
“This summer, let’s respect physical distance, at least!” he said, stressing that large gatherings were the main threat.
On Saturday, a DJ’s set on a beach in the Mediterranean resort of Nice drew thousands of people together, sparking a furious reaction on social media.
Also Saturday, a group of well-known doctors called for the government to make the wearing of masks inside public buildings compulsory in a bid to head off a second wave of the coronavirus.
Fontanet said the main risks for the appearance of new virus clusters were in confined spaces, such as on cruise ships, warships, sports halls, discos, slaughterhouses, accommodation housing migrant workers and places of worship.
On Wednesday, the French government said it was preparing for a second wave of COVID-19, but rather than imposing another nationwide lockdown, they would use “targeted” measures such as stay-at-home orders or business closures.
Source: The Moscow Times, France24