Russian Federation coronavirus: Country approves second vaccine after early trials

Vaccine development processes that usually take years have been compressed into months in many places encouraged by politicians who are seeking a quick fix for the ongoing coronavirus pandemic

In April, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo held a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin discussing efforts to step up cooperation in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Russian authorities have given regulatory approval to a second coronavirus vaccine after early-stage studies, two months after a similar move prompted widespread criticism from scientists both at home and overseas.

Safety and immunogenicity (vaccine's ability to induce immune response) data will be submitted to the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) in the next few weeks to seek approval for starting Phase 3 trials.

The name of the new vaccine is EpiVacCorona and is being produced in Siberia by Vector, a biological research center.

Russian Ambassador to Indonesia Lyudmila Vorobieva said her government had contacted the Health Ministry about the possible distribution and use of the Sputnik V vaccine and was now waiting for its response.

Vektor, the company which manufactures EpiVacCorona, said it hopes to produce the first 60,000 doses "in the nearest future".

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If Sinovac is able to secure an approval from the Ethics Board, the FDA's evaluation for its application for clinical trials would be 14 to 21 days, Domingo said.

The first batch of Russia's Sputnik-V vaccine against the novel coronavirus was delivered to Venezuela in early October, and 2,000 volunteers have been selected to participate in the trials. Just like on Wednesday, Putin personally broke the news on national television and said one of his daughters had already been vaccinated, experienced slight side effects and developed antibodies.

Russian Federation expects that by the end of 2021 it will have supplied over 1 billion doses of the Sputnik V vaccine.

Supporters of human challenge trials say they are a good way to cut short the often lengthy process of testing potential vaccines on tens of thousands of volunteers in the real world who go about normal life and are monitored to see if they contract the disease or are protected from it.

The Russian government also expects that clinical trials for the vaccine can start in Indonesia, which would allow for its registration with the health authority in the country. Sputnik V began large-scale trials on 40,000 volunteers in September. In total, over 1.3 million infections have been recorded to date.

The outbreak in the country appeared to slow down in the summer, but the number of new infections started to grow rapidly last month.

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