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23 Mar, 2020 13:18

Russian coronavirus vaccine passes first phase of development - expected to be ready in '11 months'

Russian coronavirus vaccine passes first phase of development - expected to be ready in '11 months'

As Covid-19 rapidly spreads, the world is united in hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel. On Monday, some potentially good news came from Moscow where hopes are high that progress has been made on a vaccine.

The head of the Russian Federal Biological Medical Agency (FMBA), Veronika Skvortsova, announced that the remedy should be available before the end of next winter. The FMBA has two teams — in Moscow and Saint Petersburg — working simultaneously on the project.

"I would like to tell you about the development of the vaccine. The development of the vaccine has gone through the first phase," Skvortsova told news agency TASS. She added that all stages of testing and development will end in June, with the preparation of the remedy to be completed around the middle of fall.

This is a "recombinant vaccine, [which comes] not from a live virus, but from proteins that have so-called 'epitopes,' or virus-binding sites," she stated. An epitope is the part of the antigen's macro-molecule that is recognized by the immune system.

The FMBA's mission is to protect public health and safety in Russia, with special responsibility for disease control and prevention. Skvortsova was Russian Health Minister, for eight years until stepping down in January. In 2017, she was elected as the 70th President of the World Health Organization.

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As of Monday afternoon, Russia has recorded 438 cases of coronavirus, with 262 of them in Moscow. There has been one death, not directly related to the infection, while 17 people have already recovered and have been discharged from hospitals.

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