Russia approves its third COVID-19 vaccine - CoviVac
Russia on Saturday approved the third coronavirus vaccine for domestic use, Russin Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said on state TV, though large-scale clinical trials of the shot have yet to begin.
The vaccine, dubbed CoviVac, has been developed by the Chumakov Scientific Center in Moscow.
"Today, Russia is the only country to have already three vaccines against COVID-19," Prime Minister Mishustin said.
The first 120,000 doses will be released for domestic use in March.
The CoviVac shot is given in two doses, 14 days apart. It is transported and stored at normal fridge temperatures, of 2 to 8degrees Celsius (35.6 to 46.4 Fahrenheit), Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said in a government briefing in January, Reuters reported.
Russia has already approved two COVID-19 vaccines, including the Sputnik V shot, developed by Moscow's Gamaleya Institute, following a similar approach of granting approval before seeing any late-stage trial results.
The preemptive approvals had raised concerns among some scientists in the West, but inoculations with those first two shots began on a mass scale in Russia only after trials were concluded and showed success.
Sputnik V was approved in August and late-stage trials began in September. Mass vaccination was launched in December, after preliminary trial results showed the vaccine to be 91.4% effective. Since then, more than two million Russians have been vaccinated with at least the first dose of Sputnik V, HealthMinister Mikhail Murashko said on Feb. 10.
The rollout of a second vaccine EpiVacCorona, developed by the Vector Institute in Novosibirsk, is beginning.
Unlike the Sputnik V vaccine, which uses a modified harmless cold virus that tricks the body into producing antigens to help the immune system prepare for a coronavirus infection, the ovisac vaccine is a "whole-virion" vaccine. This means it is made of a coronavirus that has been inactivated or stripped of its ability to replicate.