Russia has released the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine, known as Sputnik V, into civil circulation and the supplies of the medication to the Russian regions are expected soon, said a report citing Russian Health Ministry.
The Russian health ministry registered the first vaccine against COVID-19, developed by Gamaleya National Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), on August 11.
The first batch of the 'Gam-COVID-Vac' (Sputnik V) vaccine for the prevention of the new coronavirus infection has passed the necessary quality tests in the laboratories of Roszdravnadzor (medical device regulator) and has been released into civil circulation, the ministry was quoted as saying in an ANI report.
The ministry further said that the delivery of the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine to the country's regions is planned in the nearest future, said the report.
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.
Earlier Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko explained that civilian production at this stage meant vaccination of citizens from the risk groups, namely teachers and doctors, which will be carried out simultaneously with post-registration clinical trials, reported Russian news agency TASS reported.
On September 4, Russian scientists belatedly published first results from early trials into the Sputnik V vaccine, which drew considerable criticism from experts, as the shots had only been tested on several dozen people before being more widely administered.
In a report published in the journal Lancet, developers of the vaccine said it appeared to be safe and to prompt an antibody response in all 40 people tested in the second phase of the study within three weeks. However, the authors noted that participants were only followed for 42 days, the study sample was small and there was no placebo or control vaccine used.
One part of the safety trial included only men and the study mostly involved people in their 20s and 30s, so it is unclear how the vaccine might work in older populations most at risk of the more severe complications of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Russia is also set to complete early-stage trials on a second potential COVID-19 vaccine produced by the Vector Institute on September 30, the RIA news agency cited Russia's consumer health safety watchdog as saying.Follow our full coverage on COVID-19 here.