Russia begins testing potential COVID-19 vaccine

Updated: Mar 18, 2020, 08:36 IST | Agencies | Moscow

The country has announced it is closing borders to all foreign nationals beginning Wednesday as part of measures to halt the spread of the virus

Worker desinfects near a hippo in a closed zoo in Skopje. Pic/AFP
Worker desinfects near a hippo in a closed zoo in Skopje. Pic/AFP

Russian scientists have begun to test vaccine prototypes for the new coronavirus, and plan to present the most effective one by June, a laboratory chief at a state biotech institute said. Russia has reported 93 cases of infection but no deaths, according to official numbers published Tuesday.

"The prototypes have been created. We are starting laboratory testing on animals, to ensure effectiveness and safety," Ilnaz Imatdinov of the Vector Institute in Siberia told the Vesti Novosibirsk television channel on Monday. "In June we will present one or two showing the best results."

Vector Institute is a state virology and biotechnology centre in Novosibirsk, which previously worked on vaccines for the Ebola virus. According to the state health watchdog, which oversees the institute, Russia has tested about 116,000 people for the coronavirus since March 16. The country has announced it is closing borders to all foreign nationals beginning Wednesday as part of measures to halt the spread of the virus.

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