Home Science Russia Looking to Release Controversial COVID-19 Vaccine in October

Russia Looking to Release Controversial COVID-19 Vaccine in October

The Russian health ministry is looking to conduct a mass vaccination program in October if the vaccine gets approved this month.

Russian health authorities are considering a mass vaccination program in October. The country is still waiting for the regulation of the vaccine, which is expected to take place later this month. Should the vaccine be approved, Russia will go on a mass vaccination spree, explicitly targeting the doctors and the teachers.

Mikhail Albertovich Murashko, Health Minister of the Russian Federation, took to the media to hint at the first potential vaccine from the country.

How legitimate will this COVID-19 vaccine be?

The fast-track vaccine, as exciting as it sounds, carries its own share of risks and uncertainties. Several experts are forewarning about the risks associated with an inadequately tested vaccine.

American physician and immunologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci stated that Russia and China should effectively test the vaccine before releasing it to the public. He further affirmed that the United States would have a ‘safe and effective’ vaccine by the end of the year.

Risks of fast-tracking the vaccine

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a halt on the world. All the countries are rushing towards the production of an effective vaccine to bring back the normalcy of life. In this run, many countries are also trialing fast-track vaccines. However, the rapid pace of production has left several healthcare experts worried. To give an insight, at least one vaccine candidate has skipped the important phase of animal testing. Another candidate was approved before the completion of the phase 3 trial. Viral immunologist, Bryam Bridle stated:

Developing a vaccine in about a year is unprecedented. As a scientist with expertise in the field I am personally concerned that conducting science too fast could risk compromising the rigor needed to properly assess vaccines. A vaccine that is ineffective and/or unsafe will not be useful.

In the worst-case scenario, another major risk is that a fast-tracked vaccine might come along with adverse ill effects. Notably, rigorous testing of vaccines has a better chance of exposing these threats before releasing it for the wider world.

However, many experts are anticipating an appropriately tested fast-tracked vaccine to hit the market in 12-18 months.

Candidate vaccines for COVID-19

More than 150 countries are engaged actively in producing effective vaccines and antiviral drugs for the world. With about 165 active vaccine candidates, the world is clinging onto the performance of promising candidates while awaiting some positive COVID-19 vaccine news.

In the UK, the vaccine developed by Oxford University has tested to be effective. On 3rd August 2020, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) gave a nod to Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) to proceed with Phase 2 and Phase 3 human clinical trials for the candidate vaccine developed by the Oxford University.

How many people have been affected till now?

At the time of writing, 18 million people across the world had or have tested positive. Out of this, 10.7 million recoveries have been registered and 689K people have died.

Why are so many vaccines being developed? Isn't one enough?

Vaccine development is an extremely complex process with a high failure rate. As per reports, 80% of vaccines are deemed inappropriate even for trials on animals. By the end, we will not be looking at 150 successful vaccines, in fact, there will be only 5-6 which will be effective.

Muskan Bagrecha
Muskan is an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor's in Technology. With a zealous spirit for writing, she finds herself open to the vast realm of learning. She is an avid programmer with a keen interest in technology and science.


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