The Gamalei Center in Moscow is set to register its coronavirus vaccine on August 12, Russia’s Deputy Health Minister Oleg Gridnev told journalists on Friday, adding that the final third stage of the vaccine trial is underway.
“The registration of the vaccine developed at the Gamalei Center will take place on August 12...Now the last stage, the third, is underway. This is the testing part and is extremely important. We have to understand that the vaccine itself must be safe,” Gridnev said.
Following registration, the vaccine will reportedly be tested on around 1,600 people to ensure its safety and effectiveness.
Last week, the Russian Minister for Health Mikhail Murashko had said that nationwide mass vaccinations would begin in October with all expenses born by the government. The vaccine will initially be made available for doctors and healthcare workers.
Russia’s ambitious vaccine deadline comes as the country faces the fourth-most total case count in the world at over 875,000 as of Friday.
Russian news sources have claimed that Russia would be the first country in the world to register a COVID-19 vaccine. However, the World Health Organisation has taken a cautious approach over the Russian vaccine, noting that all countries must follow the three-stage process of vaccine testing before rolling them out.
“Sometimes individual researchers claim they have found something, which is of course, as such, great news...But between finding or having a clue of maybe having a vaccine that works, and having gone through all the stages, is a big difference,” WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier told reporters on Friday.
The head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, Kirill Dmitriev, had told the Rossiya-24 TV channel that many countries, including India, had expressed interest to producing the Russian vaccine.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund had bankrolled the development of the Gamalei vaccine.
“Our foreign partners express great interest in producing this vaccine in their countries. There is great interest from Brazil, from India, from many other countries that are very much looking forward to the Russian vaccine, the first vaccine in the world," Dmitriev said, as reported by TASS.