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COVID-19 Vaccine – Will Russia Show Us The Way?

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The COVID-19 crisis is worsening by the day. The infection tally is climbing steadily worldwide with most countries struggling to keep the virus in check and prevent their healthcare services from being overwhelmed.

Across the world, many countries are racing against time to come up with a vaccine. India too has begun human trials. But no country can give an exact date as to when the vaccine will be ready and made available to the general population.

In the midst of all this uncertainty, Russia has been making the headlines for its research into a vaccine. Will Russia be able to produce an effective vaccine? Read on to find out.

Russia’s vaccine

The Sechenov University of Russia has announced that it is close to developing an effective vaccine that will immunize people from COVID-19.

This is Russia’s only vaccine that has earned the approval to go into the human trials phase. The Gamalei National Research Centre for Epidemiology and Microbiology in collaboration with the Russian defence Ministry is behind this vaccine.


What is the status of the vaccine?

The Russian defence ministry announced that the 1st phase of human trials started on 18th June and will conclude by 15th July. The 1st phase of human trials includes testing volunteers to ensure the safety and tolerability of the vaccine. 

The 2nd phase started on 13th July. The second batch of volunteers for this phase are being tested to confirm the efficiency and immunogenicity of the new vaccine. This phase will determine if the vaccine is triggering the correct responses in the human body and what should be the proper dosage.

Will there be another phase of trials?

Usually, there are 3 rounds of human trials before a vaccine is launched. In the 3rd phase, the vaccine is tested on thousands of people for further evidence that the vaccine produces proper immunological responses in all situations.

It is too early to say whether there will be the 3rd phase. The results of the 1st  and 2nd phases will have to be analysed. That itself could take a few months and the composition of the vaccine might have to be tweaked based on the findings. Only then can there be a 3rd phase.


Expected release date of Russia’s vaccine

The analysis of the 2 phases could take at least 2 months. After that, Russian authorities will decide whether to go ahead with phase 3 trials. After the 3rd phase is completed, it usually takes several months before the vaccine is ready for use. 

But like China, Russia may decide to waive the 3rd phase. The Chinese vaccine, however, is only being used on military personnel, not civilians. So as of now, we have no concrete date for the Russian vaccine.

We have to hold on to hope. Almost 15 vaccines are in the 1st and 2nd phases of human trials worldwide. 3 vaccines are in the 3rd phase. For now, we must continue to observe COVID-19 precautions to stay fit and healthy.

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