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Russia aims to launch mass production of coronavirus vaccine by 2021

Russia says it aims to launch mass production of a coronavirus vaccine next month and turn out “several million” doses per month by next year.

The country is pushing ahead with several vaccine prototypes and one trialed by the Gamaleya institute in Moscow has reached advanced stages of development and is about to pass state registration, officials said.

“We are very much counting on starting mass production in September,” Industry Minister Denis Manturov said in an interview published by state news agency TASS.

“We will be able to ensure production volumes of several hundred thousand a month, with an eventual increase to several million by the start of next year,” he said, adding that one developer is preparing production technology at three locations in central Russia.

The head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which finances the trials, said he expects official registration of the vaccine to be complete “within ten days.”

“If this happens in the next ten days, we will be ahead not just of the United States but other countries too, it will be the first registered coronavirus vaccine,” RDIF chief Kirill Dmitriev said in televised remarks.

Another vaccine, developed by Siberia-based Vektor lab, is currently undergoing clinical trials and two more will begin human testing within the next two months, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Saturday.

Gamaleya’s vaccine is a so-called viral vector vaccine, meaning it employs another virus to carry the DNA encoding the needed immune response into cells.

Gamaleya’s vaccine is based on the adenovirus, a similar technology to the coronavirus vaccine prototype developed by China’s CanSino, currently in the advanced stage of clinical trials.

At more than 850,000 infections, Russia’s coronavirus caseload is currently fourth in the world after the United States, Brazil and India.

Some COVID-19 survivors suffer psychiatric disorders: Italian study

COVID-19 survivors suffer higher rates of psychiatric disorders, including post-traumatic stress (PTSD), anxiety, insomnia and depression, according to a study conducted by San Raffaele hospital in Milan on Monday.

The survey showed that more than half of the 402 patients monitored after being treated for the virus experienced at least one of these disorders in proportion to the severity of the inflammation during the disease.

The patients – 265 men and 137 women – were examined at a one-month follow-up after hospital treatment.

“It was immediately clear that the inflammation caused by the disease could also have repercussions at the psychiatric level,” said professor Francesco Benedetti, group leader of the Research Unit in Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology at San Raffaele, in a statement.

The report was published on Monday in the scientific journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity.

Based on clinical interviews and self-assessment questionnaires, physicians found PTSD in 28% of cases, depression in 31%, anxiety in 42% of patients and insomnia in 40%, and finally obsessive-compulsive symptoms in 20%.

The study shows that women in particular suffered the most from anxiety and depression, despite the lower severity of the infection, the statement said.

“We hypothesize that this may be due to the different functioning of the immune system,” said Professor Benedetti.

Finally, less serious psychiatric repercussions have been found in hospitalized patients than in outpatients.

The psychiatric consequences of COVID-19 can be caused both by the immune response to the virus itself and by psychological stress factors such as stigma, social isolation and worries about infecting others, it said.

The results will underscore growing concerns about potential debilitating health complications for survivors of the disease.

Earlier this month, scientists warned of a potential wave of coronavirus-related brain damage in people who have had the disease.

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