After Sputnik V, Russia grants approval to 2nd COVID-19 vaccine EpiVacCorona

Russia announced that it has granted regulatory approval to another Covid-19 vaccine named EpiVacCorona. This comes after the country granted similar approval to Sputnik V, making it the first Covid-19 vaccine candidate in the world to attain regulatory approval.

“I have a nice piece of news. The Novosibirsk-based Vektor Centre has registered a second coronavirus vaccine, EpiVacCorona,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

EpiVacCorona was developed by the Vector Institute in Siberia and completed its early-stage human trials last month. However, its results have not been published yet and a large-scale trial, known as Phase III, is yet to begin.

“We need to increase production of the first and second vaccine,” Putin said in comments broadcast on state TV. “We are continuing to cooperate with our foreign partners and will promote our vaccine abroad.”

EpiVacCorona is a peptide-based vaccine and only the second to be licensed for use in Russia. There has been a placebo-controlled trial on 100 volunteers between 18 and 60 in Novosibirsk.

“Novosibirsk-based Vektor Centre has registered a second coronavirus vaccine, EpiVacCorona. Unlike with the first Russian vaccine, Sputnik V, which is an adenovirus vector-based vaccine, the new one is a promising synthetic vaccine based on peptide,” the Russian government said.

Sputnik V is based on an adenovirus vector and was also registered before Phase III trials. A trial involving 40,000 participants is now under way in Moscow for it.

It is expected that a large-scale human trial of the new vaccine candidate, EpiVacCorona will begin in November or December, TASS news agency reported said citing the consumer safety watchdog Rospotrebnadzor.

This crucial trial is expected to involve nearly 30,000 volunteers, of whom the first 5,000 will be residents of Siberia.
The government said that the peptide-based vaccine does not induce any reactogenic responses and is noted for its high level of safety.

“The first batch of 60,000 vaccine doses will be produced in the near future, and the Vektor Centre will launch post-registration clinical trials in a number of Russian regions involving 40,000 volunteers. I would like to add that simultaneously the centre also plans to start clinical trials on 150 people aged over 60,” Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said.

Meanwhile, President Putin also said that there is yet another vaccine that is currently being developed by the Chumakov Institute in St Petersburg. He said it too shall be ready for use soon.

Early-stage clinical trials for this vaccine involving around 300 people will start on October 19.