Russia approves second coronavirus vaccine after preliminary trials

Russian regulators have approved a second coronavirus vaccine after early trials, with more detailed study coming later, President Vladimir Putin announced Wednesday.

Developed by the Vector Institute in Siberia, the second vaccine approved since August completed early-stage human trials last month, Reuters reported. The large-scale Phase III trial is not yet under way.


“We need to increase production of the first and second vaccine,” Putin said in comments broadcast on state TV, according to Reuters. “We are continuing to cooperate with our foreign partners and will promote our vaccine abroad.”

A view of a vial of Russia's experimental Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, in Moscow, Russia.

A view of a vial of Russia’s experimental Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, in Moscow, Russia. (Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr/AP)

When Russia approved the world’s first coronavirus vaccine, the announcement was met with broad skepticism for allegedly pushing speed over proven efficacy and safety. It received conditional emergency approval after tests on 76 subjects, including military service members and Putin’s own daughter.


About 60,000 doses of the new vaccine, EpiVacCorona, will be produced soon, Russian officials said, according to The Wall Street Journal. This version uses virus fragments to train the immune system to defend itself, the Journal said.

The Vector Institute tested the vaccine among 100 volunteers in early-stage, placebo-controlled human trials, lasting more than two months and completed two weeks ago, on volunteers between 18 and 60 years old, according to the Associated Press.

While not publishing the results of that study, those developing the vaccine said it produced enough antibodies to protect the person who had it from the virus, with immunity for up to six months, AP reported.

The Vector Institute will soon begin a trial on 40,000 people, and another study will test 150 people over age 60, the Journal said.

Russia is battling 1.3 million cases of coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University data, and more than 23,000 people have died. Over the past 11 days, Russian health officials have been reporting over 10,000 new cases every day, AP said. They registered a record number of 14,231 new cases on Wednesday.

Despite the promising results, health experts said that established scientific protocol dictates that it would take much broader studies involving tens of thousands of people before true safety and effectiveness could be established for either vaccine.

With News Wire Services