Vector Center director says sure COVID-19 pandemic will be over in 2021

MOSCOW, November 29. /TASS/. The pandemic of the novel coronavirus infection will end in 2021, Rinat Maksyutov, director general of Russia’s Vector State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology, a vaccine developer, said on Sunday.

“The virus will not go but the pandemic, of course, will come to an end. I am sure, it will be in 2021,” he said at an online Science Bar Hopping festival, adding that it would be possible to organize this festival offline in July.

According to the expert, the pandemic will be over when a larger part of population is through with it and sufficient herd immunity is formed thanks to mass vaccination. However, in his words, it is wrong to say that the SDARS-CoV-2 virus may vanish at a certain point “in two shakes of a duck’s tail.”

The cost of two Russian anti-coronavirus vaccines, Sputnik V and Epivaccorona, will be practically the same, Rinat Maksyutov said. “According to information I have, based on calculation of the production facilities, the cost [of one dose of the Sputnik V and Epivaccorona vaccines] differs little,” he said.

Two domestically-developed anti-coronavirus vaccines have been registered in Russia. One of them, Sputnik V, was developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Russian Health Ministry, the other one, Epivaccorona, was developed by the Vector Center. Another one, developed by the Chumakov Federal Scientific Center for Research and Development of Immune and Biological Products of the Russian Academy of Sciences, is expected to be registered soon.

According to the Sputnik V’s Twitter account and the Russian Direct Investment Fund, the investor in the vaccine development, one dose of the vaccine will cost at least 10 US dollars on international markets. Vaccination in Russia will be free of charge.

About 50 volunteers aged older than 60 have been inoculated with the anti-coronavirus vaccine developed by Russia’s Vector State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology as part of the vaccine’s post-registration trials, Rinat Maksyutov said. “Fifty volunteers older than 60 have already been inoculated. The trials continue,” he said.

On July, 24, the Center received a Russian health ministry permit for clinical trials of its anti-coronavirus vaccine on volunteers. The first volunteer was inoculated on July 27. The final group of 20 volunteers was released from hospital on September 8. The vaccine’s clinical trials were completed on September 30. Russian President said on October 14 that the Vector-developed vaccine had received registration. On November 16, the health ministry issued a permit for post-registration trials of the vaccine on volunteers older than 60 and a permit for tests on 3,000 volunteers aged from 18 to 60 was issued on November 18.

To date, 2,269,316 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 1,761,457 patients having recovered from the disease. Russia’s latest data indicates 39,527 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.

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