Russia yesterday reported that it had successfully finished human trials on a coronavirus vaccine. This would make Russia the first country in the world to complete a clinical trial and prove the effectiveness of a vaccine. Russia’s head of medical research at the Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University has stated that the vaccine research is done and it is safe.
The vaccine is being developed by the Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology along with the Russian Defence Ministry. The trials have been said to have multiple phases: the first being a small group, the second phase the vaccine is tested on those most at risk from COVID-19 and the third phase is given to thousands of people to test for efficacy and safety.
No word as yet as to when Russia will start commercial production and distribution of the vaccine, right now the vaccine has only been used on volunteers who will be discharged on July 15 and July 20. The coronavirus pandemic started just a little over 9 months ago and the race to find a vaccine around the world has been underway ever since it was declared and global pandemic.
Coronavirus has exposed numerous health system weakness and the lack of readiness by many world governments for such an event. Thus far the most effective measure against the virus has been quarantines and lockdowns. China, the US and Europe are all competing to be the first to create a vaccine, as the country to do so will secure the national health of its citizens, resume pre-pandemic operations and also be the first to distribute a vaccine globally.
Many developing countries are relying on developed nations to come up with a vaccine as they don’t have the facilities, funding or expertise to do it themselves. The US last week also purchased most of the world’s supply of the drug remdesivir which is believed to be somewhat effective against COVID-19. The mass purchase of remdesivir and other such treatments has created fears that if a vaccine is created, poorer countries will possibly be the last to receive it making the devastation of the pandemic last longer.
Meanwhile, in Germany, a new study has put doubts on the possibility of herd immunity. For some time now it was believed that those infected with coronavirus, who then recovered were immune from a second infection. Now Germany scientists have said that the anti-bodies created fight coronavirus only last a few months in the body, meaning people can be infected by COVID-19 multiple times and are still at risk.