Citing the Russian health ministry, the Interfax news agency reported on Saturday that the country has started production of its new COVID-19 vaccine, according to Reuters. The novel vaccine, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, is the first coronavirus vaccine to go into manufacturing and will be rolled out by the end of this month.
The vaccine does not come without its fair share of critics who say they fear Moscow may be putting national prestige ahead of safety. AA reported this week that Russia's health minister Mikhail Murashko said the vaccine would go into production within as soon as two weeks.
Murashko further added that the vaccine will be given to the doctors first and to the rest of the population next. Alexander Gintsburg, head of the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, said the vaccine is safe because it relies on a well-researched scientific platform that goes back decades.
"The platform has been in development for 25 years for the purpose of gene therapy, but at the end of 2014 it was used to create drugs to fight the most rapidly changing viruses,” said Gintsburg.
“The same platform was used to develop vaccines against Ebola, MERS, and a number of other diseases. It allowed the creation of an Ebola vaccine within a fairly short period of 15 months, which was evaluated highly by the WHO.”
Gintsburg added that the same vaccine will be given to children and the elderly, however, more research needs to be done on the right dosage and how to administer it. He said this process can begin once the trials on adults are completed.
Gintsburg, who is 68, further added that he received the treatment five months ago and feels good indicating that the vaccine may be safe for the elderly.
All vaccine recipients will be followed by doctors. In addition, a mobile app is being developed that will allow patients to effectively and quickly inform doctors of any possible issues that may arise.