Russia apporves its 3rd vaccine CoviVac
Published: 03:47 PM, 20 February 2021
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin; File Photo
Russia on Saturday approved its third coronavirus vaccine ‘CoviVac’ for domestic uses, confirmed Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin to state TV.
Although Russia approved CoviVac for use, the vaccine manufacturing company Chumakov Centre has yet to begin the large-scale clinical trials of the jab.
“Today, Russia is the only country to have already three vaccines against COVID-19,” said Prime Minister Mishustin.
According to Reuters, the initial approval without “large-scale clinical trials” has raised concerns among West scientists, however, the first two shots of the vaccine roll-out trials showed success in Russia.
The first vaccine named Sputnik V was approved in August and late-stage trials began in September. Mass vaccination was launched in December after preliminary trial results showed the vaccine to be 91.4% effective.
Since then, more than two million Russians have been vaccinated with at least the first dose of Sputnik V, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on February 10.
The roll-out of the second vaccine, developed by the Vector Institute in Novosibirsk, is beginning.
The CoviVac vaccine is a “whole-virion” vaccine that uses a modified harmless cold virus, unlike the ‘Sputnik V’ vaccine, that tricks the body into producing antigens to help the immune system prepare for the coronavirus infection.
This means - the vaccine has made of a “coronavirus that has been inactivated” of its ability to replicate.
According to virologist Alexander Chepurnov, cited by outlet Lenta.Ru, CoviVac includes all elements of the virus, creating a broader immune response that is likely to protect against any variants. However, it is in the early stages for shots against the SARS-CoV-2 variants that emerged in the UK, South Africa and elsewhere in the world.
Unlike the other vaccine, the CoviVac shot is also given in two doses, 14 days apart. It is transported and stored at normal fridge temperatures, of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (35.6 to 46.4 Fahrenheit).
Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said the shot has already been tested for safety on 200 people aged between 18 and 60. “It showed no side-effects, no rise in temperature,” he added.
The first 120,000 doses, however, will be produced and released to the national inoculation program in March, Golikova said.