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Russia inches closer to coronavirus vaccine; 'ready for use,' says minister

Russia's First Deputy Defense Minister Ruslan Tsalikov said that the COVID-19 vaccine trial involving a second group of volunteers ended on Monday with all of them developing immunity from coronavirus and feeling fine

The Russian army is developing the coronavirus vaccine in collaboration with the state-run Gamaleya Institute in Moscow and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) The Russian army is developing the coronavirus vaccine in collaboration with the state-run Gamaleya Institute in Moscow and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF)

Russia has claimed that it is ready to roll out its COVID-19 vaccine by next month. The Russian Defence Ministry, which is developing the inoculation, has successfully completed its phase-II human trials.

This led the country's First Deputy Defense Minister Ruslan Tsalikov to say that the country's first domestic vaccine is ready for use. He added that the trial involving a second group of volunteers ended on Monday, with all of them developing immunity from coronavirus and feeling fine.

However, he did not mention when the large-scale phase-III trials would take place or when the vaccine production may begin.

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Tsalikov said it in an interview with Moscow-based newspaper Argumenty i Fakty, Bloomberg reported.

Meanwhile, the Russian Defence Ministry hasn't officially confirmed or responded to the claim made by Tsalikov yet. But the Interfax news agency reported, quoting the Health Ministry as saying, in response to his (Tsalikov) statement, that the tests of the vaccine are continuing.

The Russian army is developing the unnamed coronavirus vaccine in collaboration with the state-run Gamaleya Institute in Moscow and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).

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The phase-III human clinical trials, which will involve thousands of volunteers in Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, are slated to begin on August 3, whereas the distribution of the vaccine could begin as early as September, RDIF's head Kirill Dmitriev said last week, the news agency added.

According to Dmitriev, Russia could make 30 million doses domestically in 2020, and 170 million abroad, as five countries have shown interest in producing the vaccine while others are willing to manufacture it.

Russia is the fourth worst-hit country by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The country's total caseload climbed to over 7.8 lakh on Tuesday, while the death count topped 12,000. Owing to rising cases, Russian President Vladimir Putin has made the COVID-19 vaccine development a priority.

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