Russia is all set to become the first country in the world to register a coronavirus vaccine. The Russian Health Ministry has stated that the registration of the vaccine is all set to take place next week (the date being floated is August 12). This would make Russia the first country, months ahead of any competitor, to register a coronavirus vaccine. But is the Russian vaccine candidate safe?
The coronavirus vaccine that has been manufactured by the Gamaleya institute in Moscow and tested at 12 separate locations in Russia, was given a green light by Russia's sanitary watchdog -- Anna Popova.
Alexander Chepurnov, former head of infectious diseases at Vektor has spoken to the media regarding the safety concerns with the vaccine. “The danger is there … in terms of the possibility of increasing the disease‘s severity with the wrong vaccine,” Alexander Chepurnov said.
“With some diseases —and for the coronavirus, this is already known — the infection can intensify with the presence of certain antibodies,” he said. “So it should be known which antibodies the vaccine forms.”
“Until I see studies and scientific publications that say how the vaccine was studied, what level of neutralization is formed, what doses of the virus it protects against and, most importantly, whether it is developing the ability to increase infection by antibodies, it is impossible to talk about the release of a vaccine,” he said.
Gamaleya's vaccine is a so-called viral vector vaccine, meaning it employs another virus to carry the DNA encoding the necessary immune response into cells. It is based on the adenovirus, the common cold.
The World Health Organisation has already said that they had not received any official data of Russia's vaccine candidate and advised caution while making anything public.