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HOW ACCURATE IS RUSSIA’S CLAIM TO BE THE WORLD’S FIRST COVID-19 VACCINE?

Since the coronavirus outbreak has taken place, an abundance of fake or partially true news is spreading across social media even within a minute. Some prefer to believe them and without checking any authenticity they keep sharing vigorously. News of the developing coronavirus vaccine has now become a daily occurrence. However, this time which name has come up is a little different from the other countries, is Russia. COVAXIN, a coronavirus vaccine is developed by India, completed pre-clinical trials, and sanctioned for human trials, while Russia Sechenov University completes human trials on the world’s first coronavirus vaccine.

The university started its clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in mid-June.

“Sechenov University has completed the test on volunteers of the world’s first vaccine against coronavirus,” Vadim Tarasov, director of the Institute of Translational Medicine and Biotechnology said.

The vaccine is being produced by the Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in partnership with the Russian Defence Ministry. Sechenov University conducted human trials.

As per the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three phases in the development of a vaccine. In Phase- I small groups of volunteers receive a trial vaccine. In phase II, the vaccine is given to those who have features (age, physical health) similar to those for whom the new vaccine is developed. In Phase III, the vaccine is given to thousands of volunteers and is sent for safety and efficacy testing. According to TASS, the Russian Defence Ministry stated, “an in-ward treatment of the first group of volunteers, who were tested for the safety and tolerability of the vaccine, will end on 15th July.

“On Monday, 13th July, the second group of volunteers, who are tested for the efficiency and immunogenicity of the vaccine, will be injected with the second component of the vaccine against the coronavirus, ” the ministry added.

TASS also reported that both the first and second groups were forming a better immune response after the injections of the vaccine.

There are over 150 candidate vaccines for the coronavirus being developed globally. Nearly half of these are still stuck in pre-clinical stages. About 15 vaccines are in phase- I trials and around 10 are in phase- II. Rest which is very few are in phase- III trials. Several rounds of regulatory and administrative approvals are required even after the successful completion of phase-III.

Russia is currently working on eight vaccines, according to Sputnik but 10 vaccines have been listed according to clinical trials website. Many Indian pharma companies like Zydus already completed their pre-clinical and moving forward to clinical trials. COVAXIN, developed from Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad was also approved for human trials.

Scientists from all across the world are working laboriously to make virus-free earth. Though there has been a vast modification in the medical arena over previous times, the development of a vaccine takes several years and coronavirus vaccine is not an exception. But we should keep in our mind COVID-19 is temporary like another pandemic.

Hence, we can expect a refined world shortly after this epidemic is over.

– Saswati Chattopadhyay

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