Russia, on Monday said it targets to launch mass production of a Covid-19 vaccine by September and turn out “several million” doses per month by next year.
The country is pushing ahead with several vaccine prototypes and one prepared at the Gamaleya institute in Moscow has reached advanced stages of development.
Industry minister, Denis Manturov said in an interview published by TASS news agency.“We are very much counting on starting mass production in September,”
“We will be able to ensure production volumes of several hundred thousand a month, with an eventual increase to several million by the start of next year,” .
Adding that one developer is preparing production technology at three locations in central Russia. Health Minister, Mikhail Murashko, on Saturday said the Gamaleya vaccine had “completed clinical trials” and that documents were being prepared to register it with the state.
Another vaccine, developed by Siberia-based Vektor lab, is currently undergoing clinical trials and two more will begin human testing within the next two months, Murashko said.
Gamaleya’s vaccine is a so-called viral vector vaccine, meaning it employs another virus to carry the DNA encoding of the needed immune response into cells.
Gamaleya’s vaccine employs the adenovirus, a similar technology to the coronavirus vaccine prototype developed by China’s CanSino, currently in the advanced stage of clinical trials.
The Gamaleya institute came under fire after researchers and directors injected themselves with the prototype months ago, with specialists criticising the move as an unorthodox and rushed way of starting human trials.
Scientists have told AFP that Russia will struggle to adapt the coronavirus vaccine to mass production because the country lacks raw materials, adequate facilities and experience, particularly with advanced technology like viral vector.