Newsweek (United States): what Russia has done right in the fight against coronavirus — and what she can share with the world

Coronavirus since the start of the crisis the international media with critical remarks on the measures taken in Russia against the pandemic. In fact, Russia’s actions on many critical issues in the fight against coronavirus can serve as an example for other States. The country is one of the world leaders in the number of tests performed, the production of effective drugs against the coronavirus and soon plans to start mass production of its own vaccine.

The Russian direct investment Fund (RDIF) — a sovereign Fund of Russia — played a key role in the fight against coronavirus infection in the country. We learned of the threat through our network of international partnerships, working together with the government in evaluating this threat and have started to invest in relevant projects.

Taking into account the predictions about the increase in the number of cases down to the shocking figures of 100 000 people per day in countries such as the United States, it is important that we quickly, without wasting a single minute, developed proven solutions based on proven technologies. We believe that to date, the RDIF has developed key elements of such a practical solution.

In the result of joint work with some of the world’s leading institutional investors, we selected and funded in our view the most promising test systems, medicines and vaccines against covid-19. Our hypotheses, the analysis and approach can be useful for those who take key decisions about the choice of anti-virus.

Miracles will not be

We believe that the magic solution will not appear by itself, and the virus just disappears. The new outbreak, argue that easing the rules of social distancing leading to further waves of spread of the virus. Meanwhile, a long, long process of testing vaccines and drugs will prevent significant hypothetical breakthroughs in the fight against the virus in the near future.

Therefore, we need to focus on the best of existing solutions and in a short time scale with international cooperation.

It seems obvious. However, the hope for a quick solution, no in-depth analysis and the growing distrust between countries has enabled many States to follow this approach.

Hope for a speedy disappearance of the threat of the spread of the virus has led to the fact that many countries too soon weakened restrictive measures, and the company does not have enough invested in ensuring biological security. In news reports about possible breakthroughs in the fight against the virus, which is often not mentioned about the risks or the time required to obtain regulatory permits. Hope for a magical solution eclipsed tested existing solutions that can be implemented in the shortest possible time.

We chose a different approach. Thanks to the cooperation with more than 15 Foundation partners at the international level, we focused on three available solutions that will play an important role in the victory over coronavirus this year.

First and foremost, testing

Quick and accurate tests are the key to economic recovery. Only large-scale rigorous testing is able to resume economic activities, including international transportation.

We have developed Russian-Japanese testing system under the brand EMG. Test results available within 30 minutes that’s much faster than the 2.5 hours required by other systems. And these results are not less accurate than the results of traditional test systems PCR. Thus, our tests not only give the result faster, but also increase the performance of existing PCR equipment 3-4 times.

Our testing system can be used not only in laboratories but also in any other places, which allows fast and accurate testing in airports, offices, factories, as well as to sports and leisure activities.

Our system has already helped to quickly detect and prevent potential outbreaks of coronavirus in many of the largest Russian industrial enterprises, as well as in offices and at football matches. It is not surprising that other countries purchased more than 13 million of our tests over a third of all tests performed in the United States.

Fast and accurate tests, like ours, will be a crucial tool for the recovery of the world economy. For example, they will greatly facilitate international air service. Soon these tests will be used in airports around the world. Instead of having to be on mandatory quarantine in Athens within 24 hours, travelers will be able to get to the Greek Islands, after passing the testing procedure, taking 30 minutes.

This decision will allow to avoid losses on trillions of dollars. According to the United Nations Conference on trade and development, this year the world tourism industry will lose 1.2 to 3.3 trillion U.S. dollars. Only in the tourism sector in the world can be lost more than 120 million jobs, with additional indirect losses can amount to about 1.25 billion jobs.

As the cost of testing is only a tiny fraction of the possible economic losses, at present, we are implementing a pilot project for the creation of virus-free air transportation hubs in the three countries, which will allow the safe to restore the tourist activity.

The second medication

In the treatment emphasis should be made on the currently-available antiviral medication, as they prevent the development of the virus in the early and middle stages, making the disease into the serious phase.

Investing in medications on the basis of plasma for treatment of severe cases covid-19 and drugs that suppress the cytokine storm, we focused our attention on proven antiviral drugs, which, in our opinion, will be most effective to prevent spread of the disease.

“Ramdevpir” American company Gilead, and “Aviewer” that we created in Russia as an improved version of Japanese drug against influenza, “Avian” became the world’s first officially approved medication for the treatment of coronavirus.

These medications will be the main means of reducing the duration of infection and duration of hospital stay. They act directly on the coronavirus by a well-known mechanism of inhibition of viral RNA polymerase, so they are side effects less and is better studied than the other drugs with a broad spectrum. The main limitation is that Avidavit cannot be taken by pregnant women or while planning pregnancy.

In clinical trials we found that an effective dosage of a drug for the treatment of coronavirus needs to be higher than for treatment of influenza. We also further purify the substance, to be able to increase the dosage without side effects and has applied for international patents on the detected change in the optimal dosage and treatment protocols.

In the course of our clinical trials, involving 330 patients, more than 60% of those who took “Aviewer”, had tested negative for the coronavirus on the fifth day, which is two times higher than in the group held a standard therapy. The average duration of excretion of virus from the body when taking the “Avifauna” — 4 days, whereas standard therapy was 9 days. Thus, reducing the period during which patients are infectious and the duration of their hospitalization. Three independent clinical studies on more than 700 patients and the results of treatment with Avifauna tens of thousands of patients in Russia have confirmed our findings.

While “Ramdevpir” will not be exported for some time in connection with large-scale purchases of US government, “Aviewer” already supplied to the world market and its production increased to 300 thousand courses per month to meet both domestic and global demand.

“Aviewer” buy not only Russia’s neighbors — Belarus and Kazakhstan — but also Colombia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Peru and many others. Purchase requisitions sent to more than 50 countries.

Other drugs like Aviewer based on current substance favipiravir can produce and other country, providing mass delivery of medicines around the world, which is especially advantageous, as these generic drugs are several times cheaper than the “Ramdevpir”. After we demonstrated the effectiveness of the drug, two drug, made on the basis of the same substance was produced in Russia. The drug is based on favipiravir passed Express check in India, and the Turkey Minister of industry announced that favipiravir will soon be registered in this country, calling it “a source of pride and joy.”

In addition, the “Avidavit” is available in the tablet form. Population it is easier to obtain since they can be sold in pharmacies as prescription drugs, in contrast to the “Ramdevpir” injection is done in hospitals.

The third vaccine

Very hard to choose from more than 140 vaccines being developed now, over 20 of which are in different stages of clinical trials. Yet no vaccine in the world was officially approved earlier than after 4 years of testing.

However, our analysis shows that the first market will be a vaccine based on adenovirus, which will receive official approval in September of this year. They are injected into the human body a gene of coronavirus spikes through a proven delivery mechanism based on the adenovirus.

Vaccines based on adenoviral vectors developed in 1980-ies. They have already received official approval and are being applied against Ebola. Vaccines against MERS, the zika virus, influenza, and malaria successfully in clinical trials.

Also developed a promising vaccine based on mRNA and other innovative methods, which, it is hoped, sooner or later will work. Despite the fact that mRNA is a wonderful new technology, no vaccine based on it have not received official approval to fight viral infections.

Even if the development of a vaccine based on mRNA will be expedited, it will be approved no earlier than 2021, as it requires extensive testing for safety. In particular, it involves the test of the impact on fertility is one of the basic options for countries planning to conduct large-scale vaccination.

Three vaccines based on adenoviral vectors have demonstrated high results at the first stage of clinical trials. They are developed by the Russian Institute. N. F. Gamalei, Oxford University in cooperation with Astra Zeneca and the Chinese company CanSino Biologics. We believe that they will need all three.

I am sure the Russian vaccine, a flu shot which I received. Sustained immunity I have developed in 20 days, even before the injection of the second maintenance dose, which should extend immunity to two years.

Soon others will be able to do the same. Thanks to the production of the vaccine through partnerships in several countries, we will be able to expand its production to 200 million doses by the end of the year.

According to our estimates, in 2021 will be made more than three billion doses of vaccines based on adenovirus vectors that will enable the world to deal effectively with the coronavirus. Russian vaccine also will come with a unique, patented test that identificeret in the human body special antibodies that attack the spinous processes of the coronavirus. Thus, the effect of the vaccine and the duration of its validity can be readily determined by measuring the increase in the number of the most effective antibodies to the coronavirus.

Most importantly — international cooperation

It is time to stop endless debate about the most effective measures to combat coronavirus. They jeopardize lives and the global economy. Still not too late, the world must work together to apply the best international practices, including the compulsory wearing of masks, the preservation of social distance and the sharing of solutions that are available now.

Our Foundation cooperates with many countries in this region. We believe that to effectively combat current and future pandemic is possible only by joint efforts of all world community.

Kirill Dmitriev, CEO, Russian direct investment Fund (RDIF), a sovereign Fund of the Russian Federation, managing assets worth $ 50 billion.