geopolitics-00535
A hemodialysis unit at Moscow's Clinical Hospital No 52 treating COVID-19 patients, patients with suspected coronavirus and patients with viral community-acquired pneumonia. Vladimir Gerdo/TASS

By Jonny Tickle

There may finally be an end in sight. Two weeks after Russia’s home-grown Covid-19 vaccine was administered to a group of volunteers, there have been no negative side-effects, raising hopes that mass immunization may be possible.

“Volunteers from the first group…feel good and have no complaints about their health,” said a Ministry of Defense press release. “Over the past two weeks, there have been no serious side-effects.”

Volunteers in the second testing group, who received the injection five days later, also report zero adverse reactions.

The testing of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine is being carried out jointly by the country’s Ministry of Defense and the Gamalei Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, located in Moscow. In early June, volunteers were selected from a mixture of military personnel and civilians.

On June 30, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu reported to President Vladimir Putin that trials should be over by the end of July. It’s expected that the vaccine will be registered in August and be put into mass production as early as possible.

According to Alexander Ginzburg, the Institute’s director, it’s hoped that, after a secondary ‘booster’ injection, immunity will last for two years. The country plans to produce up to 70 million doses, and health organizations are already preparing for a large-scale production effort.