Bloomberg (USA): the Russian elite receives an experimental vaccine against covid-19 APR

Many representatives of the Russian business and political elite got early access to an experimental vaccine covid-19, according to informed sources. Russia seeks one of the first to launch a mass vaccination.

Top management of companies, including aluminum giant RUSAL, billionaires and government officials began to receive injections, developed by the state Institute named after N. Gamalei in Moscow, in April, the sources said. To call themselves they refused, because this information is never disclosed.

Last week ended the first stage of testing vaccines Institute named after N. Gamalei, which is funded by the state direct investment Fund (RDIF), with the participation of the Russian military. The results of the study with the participation of more than 40 people, including the military, the Institute had published, going on to the next stage with a larger group of test subjects.

Telephone contact with the press service of the Institute Gamalei failed. To a text message with the question, whether the shots President Vladimir Putin or other members of his administration, press Secretary of the Kremlin Dmitry Peskov did not answer. The representative of the government from comments also have refused.

The registered cases covid-19 Russia ranks fourth in the world (over 750 000) and the program of the Institute Gamalei moves faster than its competitors in the West. The head of RDIF Kirill Dmitriev last week announced that the third stage of testing will start 3 August with the participation of thousands of people in Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — and the vaccine will be implemented at the national level in September. Western researchers usually conduct a third phase I trial for several months in order to better assess its safety and effectiveness.

Development of Institute of a name of N. Gamalei is the so — called vaccine based on viral vector. In this case, the basis is the human adenovirus, he causes the common cold — combined with thorn proteins of SARS CoV-2 to stimulate immune response. This is similar to a vaccine developed by a Chinese company CanSino Biologics, which is already in the second stage, and has further plans in Canada.

Among the other countries along with the United States and the United Kingdom, Canada last week accused the Russian hackers trying to steal developments on the vaccine for the government. Russian officials deny the accusations.

An experimental vaccine

The program, in which representatives of business and political elite of Russia got the opportunity to act as volunteers in trials of an experimental vaccine, is legal, but is kept secret in order to avoid impacts to potential participants, informed knowledgeable researcher. According to him, it involved a few hundred people. The Agency “Bloomberg” has confirmed that the injections got a few dozen people, but they are not allowed to publish their names.

The method of selection of participants is unknown. However, they are not registered members of the official research, although the Institute continues to monitor their condition. Injections are made in a Moscow clinic at the Institute for immune response for a period of two years, missing two shots, according to the Institute name Gamalei. Subjects did not pay and sign the risk warning notice.

Dmitriev of the Russian direct investment FUND said that he and his family received shots and noted that a similar opportunity many other volunteers. To provide additional information, he refused. Institute name Gamalei stated that instilled his Director and team of scientists in the beginning of the test. In may volunteers from among its employees to test the vaccine encouraged public savings Bank.

One of the top managers who received the vaccine reported that no side effects had no. He said that he had decided to take a chance to live a normal life and conduct business meetings as usual. Other participants reported fever and muscle pains after the injections.

Race of vaccines

According to informed sources, injections received and many of the top leaders of RUSAL, the company cooperated with the Institute of Gamaliel in the development of a vaccine against Ebola for work in Guinea. Manufacturer of fertilizers, PJSC “FosAgro” also received a similar offer, but still considering it, according to sources. Representatives of RUSAL and PhosAgro declined to comment.

Some heads of large companies, in his own words, had declined since the vaccine still needs testing and cannot be considered completely safe. One tycoon said he refused to participate after his doctor said that a full risk assessment will take a year.

Initial test results CanSino showed that his vaccine based on adenovirus had a lower effect on some people, previously had immunity to this pathogen. According to Dmitriev of the Russian direct investment FUND, Russian researchers are testing two different types of adenoviral vectors to reduce the likelihood that the immune system will reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine.

“The current situation with the vaccine similar to the race, and sufficient clinical trials have not been conducted,” — said on Friday Sergey Shulyak, General Director of consulting company DSM Group.

The article was written with the participation of Irina Reznik and Andrey Biryukov