Moscow: Russia has given regulatory approval to a second Covid-19 vaccine, named ‘EpiVacCorona’, after early-stage studies. The new coronavirus vaccine comes two months after a similar move for Russia’s first vaccine Sputnik V prompted widespread criticism from scientists both at home and abroad.
Russia became the first country to give regulatory approval to a Covid-19 vaccine in August when Sputnik V was officially registered ahead of large-scale clinical trial.
During a televised meeting with government officials on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the country has registered the second Covid-19 vaccine.
Putin said that a third Russian vaccine against Covid-19, developed by the Chumakov Centre, would also be registered in the near future, Sputnik news agency reported.
We now need to increase production of the first vaccine and the second vaccine, Putin said. The president added that the priority was to supply the Russian market with the vaccines.
The second Russian vaccine to receive regulatory approval was developed by the Vector State Research Centre of Virology and Biotechnology.
The two-shot vaccine, ‘EpiVacCorona’, was tested among 100 volunteers in early-stage, placebo-controlled human trials, which lasted more than two months and were completed two weeks ago. The volunteers were between 18 and 60 years old.
Vector’s vaccine EpiVacCorona relies on chemically synthesized peptide antigens of SARS-CoV-2 proteins, conjugated to a carrier protein and adsorbed on an aluminum-containing adjuvant, according to details posted at ClinicalTrials.gov, a database of privately and publicly funded clinical studies conducted around the world.
Scientists have yet to publish the results of the study. In comments to the media, scientists developing the vaccine said that it produced enough antibodies to protect the person who had it from the virus and that the immunity it creates could last for up to six months.
An advanced study involving tens of thousands of volunteers that is necessary to establish safety and effectiveness of the vaccine is scheduled to start in November or December.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said that she tested EpiVacCorona vaccine herself and experienced no side effects, said a media report.
“The Vector centre is also initiating post-registration clinical trials in the various regions of Russia that would include 40,000 volunteers,” she was quoted as saying.