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24 Sep, 2020 19:32

Russia now testing Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine on elderly & other high-risk groups as part of third phase trials

Russia now testing Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine on elderly & other high-risk groups as part of third phase trials

Russia has started clinical trials of its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine on volunteers from high risk groups, including the elderly. The formula is currently in its final phase of tests, before planned mass distribution.

Developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute of Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology, Sputnik V is the first registered Covid-19 vaccine in the world. It has already been through the first two phases of clinical trials and is due to be eventually tested on 40,000 Muscovites. Previous trial stages in the summer only accepted volunteers between the ages of 18 to 60, but the third phase will see a much broader cross-section of society.

“We do not expect any negative reactions from the elderly,” Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which has bankrolled the formula's development, said. “My mother and father are 74 years old. They have also been vaccinated as part of the volunteer program and feel great.”

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As part of the final trial phase, the 40,000 volunteers will be closely monitored by doctors, and through a unique app will be able to contact doctors to report any side effects.

On August 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the country had registered the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine, due to be available to the general public from January 2021. Before then, teachers and medical workers will be offered the formula.

The vaccine has been criticized by some Western countries for its supposed unsafe rapid development and improper testing. However, at the start of September, respected British medical journal the Lancet published a study prepared by the developers of the Sputnik V vaccine, showing it to be 100 percent effective, producing antibodies in all 76 participants of early-stage trials. 

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