Russia will register what it claims is the first coronavirus vaccine on August 12. The COVID-19 vaccine has been jointly developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute and Russia’s Defence Ministry and will be the first vaccine candidate against the novel coronavirus to get registered.
The vaccine is currently in its final stage (third stage) of testing. Once registered, the Mass production of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine is expected to begin in October. Russia’s junior health minister said that medical professionals and senior citizens will be the first to get vaccinated.
The COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by Gamaleya Research Institute and Russian Defence Ministry is a viral vector vaccine which is based on human adenovirus fused with SARS CoV-2’s spike protein to stimulate an immune response in the body.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
While the country is preparing to register the potential coronavirus vaccine, several concerns have been raised against the fast-track approach.
Dr Anthony Fauci, United States’ top infectious disease specialist said, “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.”
The World Health Organisation, too, had previously advised Russia to follow the guidelines and protocols to produce a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine. The warning came as Moscow moved swiftly to begin producing vaccine doses.