Russia’s domestically produced Covid-19 vaccine could be dangerous and even cause infection if improperly designed, says Alexander Chepurnov, the former lab head at the Vector State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology.
A rapidly produced vaccine has already been completed and trialed in Russia, and will soon be registered and undergo mass production. The country is just one of many in the race to produce an effective immunization against the disease. According to Chepurnov, if the vaccinated person already has specific antibodies, coronavirus could actually intensify after receiving the vaccine.
“That is why research on vaccine prototypes is needed,” he said. “When people work on vaccines in some countries, they publish their results immediately and it’s clear what we are dealing with. And here I don’t see any publications.”
While many foreign companies post results and information about their vaccine online, and others publish results in scientific journals, Russia’s most promising vaccine has been developed and trialed in complete secrecy.
In conjunction with the country’s Ministry of Defense, Moscow’s Gamalei Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology has produced a home-grown coronavirus vaccine due to be registered next week. Medical workers and the elderly will be first on the list to receive the immunization. Vector, Chepurnov’s former employer, is also in the process of developing a vaccination.
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Speaking to Russian newspaper RBK, Anatoly Altstein, an employee at the Gamalei Institute, agreed with Chepurnov that some vaccines can have a negative effect, but noted that it is not a common issue. “The antibodies that form can capture the virus and pull it into the cells of the immune system, where the virus does not die but begins to multiply. This is quite rare in the practice of using vaccines,” he said.
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