Russia’s third vaccine against COVID-19, CoviVac, is more than 80% effective according to preliminary data, the Interfax news agency cited the vaccine’s developer as saying on Wednesday.
The Chumakov Centre could produce six times more than the previously planned 10 million doses of the vaccine a year, Interfax added.
CoviVac (Russian: КовиВак) is an inactivated virus-based COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Chumakov Centre [ru], which is an institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. It was approved for use in Russia in February 2021, being the third COVID-19 vaccine to get approval in Russia. It has not yet gone through a phase III clinical trial as of early March 2021.
As an inactivated vaccine, CoviVac uses a more traditional technology that is similar to the inactivated polio vaccine. Initially, a sample of SARS-CoV-2 strain AYDAR-1 was isolated by the Chumakov Center at the Russian Academy of Sciences and used to grow large quantities of the virus using vero cells. From then on, the viruses are soaked in beta-propiolactone, which deactivates them by binding to their genes, while leaving other viral particles intact. The resulting inactivated viruses are then mixed with an aluminium-based adjuvant
One dose of 0.5 ml is composed only of 3 μg or more of SARS-CoV-2 strain AYDAR-1 antigen inactivated by inactivated by beta-propiolactone and the following excipients
0.3–0.5 mg of aluminum hydroxide (adjuvant)
0.5 ml or less of phosphate buffer solution composed of disodium phosphate dihydrate, sodium dihydrogen phosphate dihydrate, sodium chloride, and water for injection
The CoviVac shot is given in two doses, 14 days apart. It is transported and stored at normal fridge temperatures, of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (35.6 to 46.4 Fahrenheit).
Russia has already approved two COVID-19 vaccines, including the Sputnik V shot, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, following a similar approach of granting approval before seeing any late-stage trial results.
The preemptive approvals had raised concerns among some scientists in the West, but inoculations with those first two shots began on a mass scale in Russia only after trials were concluded and showed success.
Sputnik V was approved in August and late-stage trials began in September. Mass vaccination was launched in December, after preliminary trial results showed the vaccine to be 91.4% effective.
Since then, more than two million Russians have been vaccinated with at least the first dose of Sputnik V, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Feb. 10.
Rollout of a second vaccine, developed by the Vector Institute in Novosibirsk, is beginning.
DIFFERENT TYPE OF VACCINE
Unlike the Sputnik V vaccine, which uses a modified harmless cold virus that tricks the body into producing antigens to help the immune system prepare for a coronavirus infection, the CoviVac vaccine is a “whole-virion” vaccine.
This means it is made of a coronavirus that has been inactivated, or stripped of its ability to replicate.
“The vaccine we have developed… reflects the whole history of Russian, as well as global, vaccine science,” the Chumakov Centre’s director, Aidar Ishmukhametov, said on Saturday.
The advantage, according to virologist Alexander Chepurnov, cited by outlet Lenta.Ru, is that CoviVac includes all elements of the virus, creating a broader immune response that is likely to protect against any variants.