Russia grants approval to second COVID-19 vaccine EpiVacCorona

The EpiVacCorona Vaccine is a promising synthetic vaccine based on peptide, unlike the first Russian Vaccine Sputnik V, which is an adenovirus vector-based vaccine.

Oct 16, 2020 13:11 IST
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Russia on October 14, 2020 announced that it has granted regulatory approval to its second COVID-19 vaccine, EpiVacCorona. The vaccine approval comes after Russia approved the world's first COVID-19 vaccine-Sputnik V.

Russian President Vladimir Putin made the announcement during a televised meeting with government officials. He said, "I have a nice piece of news. The Novosibirsk-based Vektor Centre has registered a second coronavirus vaccine, EpiVacCorona."

EpiVacCorona has been developed by the Siberia-based Vector Institute. The COVID-19 Vaccine completed its early-stage human trials in September. However, the pharmaceutical company is yet to publish the results of human trials. Phase III trials of the vaccine are yet to begin.

EpiVacCorona Vaccine: Key Highlights 

•  The EpiVacCorona Vaccine is a promising synthetic vaccine based on the peptide, unlike the first Russian Vaccine Sputnik V, which is an adenovirus vector-based vaccine. It has now become the second vaccine to be licensed for use in Russia.

•  A placebo-controlled trial was conducted on 100 volunteers between 18 and 60 in Novosibirsk to determine the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

•  A large-scale phase 3 trial of the new COVID-19 vaccine candidate is expected to begin either in November or December. 

•  The trial is expected to involve nearly 30,000 volunteers in different Russian regions, of whom the first 5,000 will be residents of Siberia.

•  The first batch of 60,000 vaccine doses of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate will be produced in the near future.

•  The nation also plans to simultaneously start clinical trials on 150 people aged over 60 years of age. 

•  The peptide-based vaccine is not expected to induce any reactogenic responses and is noted for its high level of safety.

Third Russian vaccine for COVID-19 almost ready

While announcing this vaccine, the Russian President said that a third COVID-19 vaccine is almost ready at the Chumakov Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The vaccine will be ready for trials soon. 

The early-stage clinical trials for the vaccine involving around 300 people is expected to start on October 19.

Would EpiVacCorona Vaccine be safe?

Though the Russian government has granted approval to the vaccine, the health officials in the country are currently in the process of reviewing the vaccine for safety and quality. So it is still unclear whether the vaccine will be safe or not. 

Vektor Institute

The institute that has developed the EpiVacCorona vaccine is called the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR or simply as the Vector Institute. The institute is a biological research center located in Koltsovo, Novosibirsk Oblast, Russia. It is a former Soviet Union bioweapons research lab. 

The institute along with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are the only two sites in the world that have smallpox stockpiles. Vektor also has Ebola samples.

Sputnik V COVID-19 Vaccine

Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Gamaleya Institute in Moscow, was licensed for use in Russia in August. The vaccine was registered and received regulatory approval before Phase III trials just like EpiVacCorona.The human trials of Sputnik V are currently underway in Moscow.

The Russian President has urged for an increase in the production of the first and second vaccine. He has assured that the nation is continuing to cooperate with its foreign partners to promote its vaccine abroad.

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