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Last Updated : Jul 16, 2020 04:10 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Russian may approve experimental COVID-19 vaccine in August, plans to produce 30 million doses

A larger Phase-III trial involving several thousand people is expected to begin in August, said Russian Direct Investment Fund head Kirill Dmitriev.

Russia plans to produce 30 million doses of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine domestically this year, with the potential to manufacture a further 170 million abroad, the head of the country's sovereign wealth fund told news agency Reuters.

Post the first human trial of the vaccine, which ended this week, researchers concluded that it is safe for use and induces an immune response, though the strength of that response is as yet unclear.

The first human trial of the vaccine involved 38 participants.

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A larger Phase-III trial involving several thousand people is expected to begin in August, said Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) head Kirill Dmitriev.

"We believe that based on the current results it will be approved in Russia in August and in some other countries in September..., making it possibly the first vaccine to be approved in the world," he said in an interview with the news agency.

Dmitriev said the Russian Phase III trial will be conducted at home and in two Middle Eastern countries, and will begin after a 100-person Phase-II trial wraps up on August 3.

Russia was in talks with Saudi Arabia on being a trial site as well as a manufacturing partner, he told a separate news conference.

Moscow's Gamaleya Institute, which developed the Russian candidate vaccine, is producing doses for clinical trials, while private pharmaceutical firms Alium - part of the Sistema conglomerate- R-Pharm and are handling bottling.

"There's a general sense that for so-called herd immunity in Russia you need to vaccinate between 40 million and 50 million people," Dmitriev said.

"So we believe we will be in good shape producing around 30 million (doses domestically) this year and then we can finalise vaccination next year," he added.

Russia had also struck manufacturing deals with five other countries and could be producing up to 170 million doses abroad this year, Dmitriev said.

More than 100 possible vaccines are being developed to try to stop the pandemic. At least two are in final Phase-III human trials, according to World Health Organization data - one being developed by China's Sinopharm and the other by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

(With inputs from Reuters)
First Published on Jul 16, 2020 04:10 pm
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