If mass vaccination goes to plan, Russia will have seen an end to Covid-19 by next summer, says Alexander Gintsburg, the director of Moscow’s Gamaleya Center, where the groundbreaking Russian coronavirus vaccine was developed, Russia Today reported.
Gintsburg believes the world will only be able to defeat the pandemic after mass vaccination, which he thinks can happen within a year. Until then, he predicts that society will be engaged in “constant battles” with the virus.
“We’ll only be able to say that the pandemic has receded when we’ve produced the required amount of vaccine and vaccinated the entire population of our country and part of the globe,” he said.
Up to 80 million doses of vaccine could be produced in Russia over the next 12 months, and this will mean a “good percentage” of the country is protected, creating herd immunity, the scientist explained.
On August 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the country had registered the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine, which has been named Sputnik V. Following its registration, Russia was criticized internationally for the formula’s rapid development and early registration, with the vaccine’s safety questioned, due to the small number of patients involved in the trial.
However, on September 4, respected British medical journal The Lancet published a study showing that Sputnik V had successfully produced antibodies in all 76 participants in the early-stage trials, and concluded that it appeared to be safe. The vaccine will be available to the general public from early 2021.
According to Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, Sputnik V’s third-phase trial is to begin this week, with 40,000 people expected to be given the vaccine. Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin announced that more than 5,000 of the capital’s residents had already signed up to receive it, and the necessary infrastructure was in place for the mass testing to begin. The volunteers’ blood will be tested before they are vaccinated, then tested again a few weeks later to see if antibodies have appeared.