Russia has approved its second virus vaccine, EpiVacCorona after early-stage trials. Moscow also said that it is closing in on the third vaccine too and will approve it soon. It can be noted that Russia's approval of its first vaccine Sputnik V was criticized by experts both at home and abroad.
The announcement of approval of EpiVacCorona was made by Russian President Vladimir Putin in a televised meeting with government officials. "We now need to increase production of the first vaccine and the second vaccine," said Putin. He also clarified that along with an aim to provide vaccine globally, supplying it to the Russian market was his priority.
Third vaccine approval by December?
EpiVacCorona is developed by Vector State Virology and Biotechnology Center, a former Soviet bioweapons research lab. Reports claim that the third vaccine is likely to be approved in December.
Currently the vaccine has been tested among 100 volunteers through placebo-controlled human trials. The two-month trial was completed 15 days ago. The vaccine was tried on volunteers between 18 and 60 years. It is a peptide-based, two-shot vaccine.
Concerning factor is that the results of the vaccine test have not been published by the scientists yet. Even without the results, scientists involved in developing the vaccine have said that the developer has produced enough antibodies to protect the person as the immunity the vaccine creates could last for up to six months. Officials explained that synthetic peptide antigens in the vaccine train the immune system to defend itself against the coronavirus.
Russia is set to produce 60,000 doses of EpiVacCorona shortly. Developer of the new vaccine, Vector Center will soon begin a trial of 40,000 people. A separate study will take place by testing 150 people who are aged above 60.
Russia's Way to Exert Soft Power?
Russia had become the first country to approve a vaccine for COVID-19 on August 11, 2020, when it gave green signal to Sputnik V, developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute. This vaccine was only tested on 76 volunteers. Since then, Russian scientists have released a positive data of the use of the vaccine.
Russia has already signed the deal with Brazil, India and Mexico in terms of production and selling Sputnik V. Many have claimed that this is Russia's way to exert soft power. Putin has said that domestic manufacturing capacities will be reserved for Russians.
Currently, Russia has the fourth highest cases of coronavirus with 1,340,409 infections and 23,205 death toll as on October 14. New infections reached 14,231 on October 13, highest since the pandemic began.