A Russian COVID-19 vaccine reportedly has been shown to be safe and effective thus far, seemingly signalling that we are close to a turning point in the global pandemic.
This is according to the Russian Ministry of Defense, which announced the news shortly after a group of volunteers was released Monday from Moscow’s Burdenko Hospital, a military clinic.
“The available test results unambiguously show the development of an immune response in all volunteers as a result of vaccination,” the ministry said in a statement.
“No side effects, complications or undesirable reactions, health complaints from the volunteers at the time of discharge were identified.”
Those inoculated with the experimental drug were pulled from the Russian military and from a pool of civilian volunteers.
According to Russian government-backed Sputnik News, the second phase of the trials are set to begin in early August.
Elena Smolyarchuk, a clinical researcher at Sechenov University who is assisting in the military’s vaccine efforts, said it will take weeks to determine the true effectiveness of the vaccine.
The researcher says all of her volunteers “have gained immunity” despite the relatively short time since the trial began.
“If the vaccine proves its effectiveness,” Smolyarchuk told Sputnik, “it will be registered and large-scale post-registration research will begin, involving a big number of people who will be vaccinated and monitored in order to understand how long the immunity can be preserved.”
The Russian vaccine is one of many on a World Health Organization-monitored list of candidates.
The vaccine candidate appears to be the result of a greatly expedited clinical process that began only two months ago.
Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly was first told about a potential coronavirus vaccine on May 26. Shortly after, the country’s military started testing the serum on animals.
Less than a month later, on June 16, Russia’s Ministry of Health issued a permit that allowed human trials to begin.
This apparent success puts the Russians among the front-runners racing to develop a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The United Kingdom’s Oxford University is one of many institutions and companies around the world that also have a promising vaccine in the works.
U.S.-based Pfizer’s own work is making large strides and already has won a contract from the U.S. government for 100 million doses of the future serum.
If these vaccine trials continue to be successful, COVID-19 eventually could become just a horrible memory.
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