Russian military claims Covid-19 vaccine ‘ready’ sans key trials

Moscow: In a sensational claim, the Russian military has said it is ready with its experimental coronavirus vaccine, which is yet to even finish Phase II trial and the all-critical Phase III one, The Moscow Times reported on Tuesday.

Last week, the Russian Defence Ministry had claimed that it has developed a “safe” adenoviral vector-based vaccine, following clinical trials on a group of volunteers.

According to the new report, First Deputy Defence Minister Ruslan Tsalikov told the Argumenty i Fakty newspaper that military experts and scientists at the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology have made “final assessments”.

“At the time of discharge, all volunteers without exception received immunity from the coronavirus. Thus, the first domestic vaccine against the novel coronavirus infection is ready,” Tsalikov was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

However, Russia’s Health Ministry disputed the Deputy Defense Minister’s claim, saying the vaccine’s trials have not yet ended and the ministry plans to “work on the candidate vaccine’s state registration process after Phase II of the trials”.

The ministry hopes to produce 200 million doses of coronavirus vaccine with foreign partners by the end of this year.

Last week, the Russian Defence Ministry had claimed that 18 people had participated in the research and were discharged without “serious adverse events, health complaints, complications or side effects”.

Meanwhile, the US, British and Canadian security services have alleged that a hacking group, believed to be operating as part of Russian intelligence services, was targeting organisations involved in Covid-19 vaccine development.

Russia’s ambassador to Britain, Andrei Kelin, later rejected the claims that his country’s intelligence service attempted to steal information about a Covid-19 vaccine.

(Inputs from IANS)

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