Business Defense/R&D

Facts&realities: Race for Covid-19 vaccine

The COVID-19 is affecting 213 countries and territories around the world. The pandemic has already caused over 13 million cases and around 570,000 deaths. It just keeps coming and coming. We are currently facing a global race to develop an effective vaccine against this new, deadly, and highly infectious coronavirus disease, COVID-19.

Many governments, organisations and experts have already warned that daily life cannot return to normal until their populations have built up antibodies to fend off the virus. Accelerated clinical trials are already underway, but vaccine development may take years.

Russian is among potential candidates trying to win this race, but it has miles to go to knock the cover off the ball.

Russia was vocal in statements that its Sechenov University had successfully completed clinical trials on volunteers of the “world’s first vaccine” against COVID19 and it may be considered safe.

Russia’s vaccine could have cleared only phase-1 of human trials. So, at best, it’s a potential vaccine, which is still in trials and needs scientific calls. 

It must be said that the World Health Organization (WHO) lists the Russian coronavirus vaccine study as a phase 1 trial. It still has to pass at least 3-4 more trials to be deemed safe. It means that it is far from being ready.

The WHO has also provided a list of 21 potential vaccines, specifying that only two of them have achieved the advanced stage of human trials: Oxford/AstraZeneca’s ChAdOx1-S and Sinovac’s vaccine.

The main researcher of the Russian research institution asserts about completion of all human trials of the vaccine, meanwhile omitting to mention that only 40 volunteers have participated in the study. 

The WHO points out that at least a hundred volunteers is needed for Phase-2 while Phase-3 requires thousands across regions and countries. 

This testifies the fact that the Russian vaccine has only completed Phase-1 of the human trials. 

There is another very interesting fact: the trials began only a month ago (on June 18). And only a month after, Russia trumpeted the vaccine is ready for humans. 

According to many experts, it may take years to develop a coronavirus vaccine and there is a snowball chance to market it.  

As it was proved with vaccines for malaria, ebola, and dengue – four years was needed for the development. 

Despite an immense potential of the Russian vaccine, it cannot be considered safe for human use so soon. 

The conclusion is simple: the Russian government’s statements about completion of all human trials of the vaccine and its readiness for human use is a gross misrepresentation of facts. In any case scientific proof is needed. 

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