A Russian medical worker displays a trial vaccine against COVID-19 in a post-registration phase of the test at outpatient hospital number 68 in Moscow, Russia, 17 September 2020. Russia registered the new vaccine called 'Sputnik V' against Coronavirus Sars-Cov-2 and opens the stage of its massive testing. EPA-EFE/SERGEI ILNITSKY

Russia’s Chumakov Federal Scientific Center for Research and Development of Immune and Biological Products of the Russian Academy of Sciences has proved the efficacy of its polio vaccine against the novel coronavirus, the Center’s director, Aidar Ishmukhametov, said on Wednesday.

“We inoculated <…> volunteers with a live polio vaccine and observed a dramatic slump in [coronavirus] incidence in this group. We have proved that,” he said in an interview with the Vesti daily news roundup on the Rossiya-1 television channel.

“So far, we have left aside this matter [the efficacy of a polio vaccination as an anti-Covid measure] as, so to say, an emergency option,” he added.

According to Ishmukhametov, the study involved more than 600 people in the city of Kirov.

The Chumakov Federal Scientific Center for Research and Development of Immune and Biological Products was created on the basis of the Institute of Poliomyelitis and Virus Encephalitis of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences. Academician of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences Mikhail Chumakov was the Institute’s founder and first director (until 1972). Today the Chumakov Center is a leading world research organization in the sphere of medical virology.

The Center has developed its own dead whole-virion vaccine against the novel coronavirus infection (CovviVac). Whole-virion vaccines are based either on artificially weakened viruses incapable of causing a disease or killed (inactivated) viruses. The CoviVac vaccine was registered with the Russian health ministry on February 19.