Russia has registered its third vaccine against Covid-19, the country’s Prime Minister announced Saturday, promising to accelerate production rates.
“From the middle of March, the first 120,000 doses (of the third vaccine) will be put into circulation,” Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced during a government meeting broadcast on television.”
“Russia is today the only country where three vaccines already exist,” he said.
Called “Kovivak”, this third vaccine was developed by the Chumakov Research Centre in Moscow. Russia has already registered the Sputnik V vaccine, in August, and EpiVacCorona, licensed in October.
Since January, Russia has been carrying out a massive vaccination campaign for its population.
The first vaccine, whose early announcement raised doubts within the scientific community, recently received recognition of its effectiveness in a study published by the medical journal The Lancet and validated by independent experts. It is now authorised in more than twenty countries.
The Russian authorities are trying to enter into production agreements around the world rather than exporting their vaccines, due to a lack of sufficient capacity to satisfy national demand, which is a priority.
“We are accelerating the pace of vaccine production. More than 10 million doses of Sputnik V have been produced, and about 80,000 of EpiVacCorona,” Mishustin said.
The registration of Kovivak means that it must now pass phase III trials, scheduled for March on 3,000 people, according to the Russian Research Ministry.
Unlike the other two vaccines, the latter uses an inactivated virus, a more conventional technology. The ministry specified that it is, for the moment, only recommended for people aged between 18 and 60.
According to the government, 4.13 million infections have been recorded in Russia, placing the country in fourth place in the world behind the United States, India and Brazil.