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Russia aims to produce ‘millions’ of COVID-19 vaccine doses by 2021

MOSCOW: Russia said on Monday (Aug 3) it aims to launch mass production of a coronavirus vaccine next month and turn out "several million" doses per month by next year.

The country is pushing ahead with several vaccine prototypes and one trialled by the Gamaleya institute in Moscow has reached advanced stages of development and is about to pass state registration, officials said.

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"We are very much counting on starting mass production in September," Industry Minister Denis Manturov said in an interview published by state news agency TASS.

"We will be able to ensure production volumes of several hundred thousand a month, with an eventual increase to several million by the start of next year," he said, adding that one developer is preparing production technology at three locations in central Russia.

READ: Russia preparing mass vaccination against COVID-19 for October

The head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which finances the trials, said he expects official registration of the vaccine to be complete "within 10 days".

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"If this happens in the next 10 days, we will be ahead not just of the United States but other countries too, it will be the first registered coronavirus vaccine," RDIF chief Kirill Dmitriev said in televised remarks.

Another vaccine, developed by Siberia-based Vektor lab, is currently undergoing clinical trials and two more will begin human testing within the next two months, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Saturday.

READ: Long-term complications of COVID-19 signal billions in healthcare costs ahead

Gamaleya's vaccine is a so-called viral vector vaccine, meaning it employs another virus to carry the DNA encoding the needed immune response into cells.

Gamaleya's vaccine is based on the adenovirus, a similar technology to the coronavirus vaccine prototype developed by China's CanSino, currently in the advanced stage of clinical trials.

"WHO WILL BUY IT?"

The state-run Gamaleya institute came under fire after researchers and its director injected themselves with the prototype several months ago, with specialists criticising the move as an unorthodox and rushed way of starting human trials.

Vitaly Zverev, laboratory chief at the Mechnikov Research Institute of Vaccines and Sera, said it was too early to register a vaccine.

READ: There may never be a 'silver bullet' for COVID-19, WHO warns

READ: US says unlikely to use China, Russia COVID-19 vaccine as race heats up

"I believe a vaccine that is not properly checked must not be registered, no matter in what country," he said.

"It is impossible to ensure the vaccine's safety in the time that has passRead More – Source