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Russian university successfully completes human trials of coronavirus vaccine: Report

The Russian Health Ministry had sanctioned the trial for the coronavirus vaccine candidate on June 16. The first group of volunteers would be discharged on July 15 and the second group on July 20.
Jul 12, 2020 / 09:06 PM IST

Russia's Sechenov University has successfully completed the human trial round of the world's first novel coronavirus vaccine, according to a report by Sputnik News.

Vadim Tarasov, the Director of the Institute for Translational Medicine and Biotechnology, told Sputnik that the university has completed the trial of the vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Institute, an epidemiology research centre in Moscow.

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The Russian Health Ministry had sanctioned the trial on June 16.

The first group of 18 volunteers received the vaccine on June 18 while the second group of 20 volunteers received the vaccine on June 23 at the Practical Research Centre for Interventional Cardiovasology, Sechenov University had said earlier this month.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

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.

How many types of vaccines are there?

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.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

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.

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According to the report, Tarasov said the first group of volunteers would be discharged on July 15 and the second group on July 20.

In a human challenge trial, participants are deliberately exposed to the infection (in this case it is SARS-CoV-2 virus), in order to study the disease and test the vaccines. For the human challenge trial -- the exact virus strain that is used to infect the participant and dosage or how much of the virus the volunteers need to be exposed to needs to be determined and approved by the regulatory authorities.

The method is not new and has been used for developing vaccines for seasonal flu, typhoid, malaria and cholera, among others.

Globally, there have been over 1.2 crore confirmed cases of COVID-19. More than 5.6 lakh people have died so far.

Gilead Sciences, Oxford University's researchers and American biotech company Moderna are considered to be at the forefront of developing a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.

According to reports, Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE's vaccine candidate is expected to be ready to seek regulatory approval by the end of 2020.

Meanwhile, Gilead Sciences said on July 10, an analysis had shown its antiviral remdesivir helped reduce the risk of death in severely ill COVID-19 patients, but cautioned that rigorous clinical trials were needed to confirm the benefit.

Remdesivir has been at the forefront of the global battle against COVID-19 after the intravenously administered medicine helped shorten hospital recovery times, according to data in April from a separate US government trial. That study showed a trend toward better survival for remdesivir but the difference was not statistically significant.

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first published: Jul 12, 2020 09:06 pm
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