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Russia says hoping to produce 200 mn vaccine doses this year

Russia hopes to complete trials of a coronavirus vaccine in August and produce 200 million doses with foreign partners by the end of the year, the head of its sovereign wealth fund said Monday.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which manages some $10 billion, is working with a government research institute on one of several vaccine projects in the country.

RDIF chief executive Kirill Dmitriev said he hoped the project would receive permission next month to begin production, after the first phase of a vaccine trial was completed last week.

“Immediately after that we are planning to begin mass production,” Dmitriev said in a statement on Russia’s state anti-coronavirus portal.

“Mass production of this vaccine can stop the pandemic’s potential ‘second wave’,” he said.

He said Russia would be in a position to produce 30 million doses of the vaccine by year’s end, with “international partners across the world” joining in to bring the total to 200 million.

The Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology’s vaccine is undergoing trials on military and civilian volunteers.

It is based on human adenovirus, a cold virus.

Dmitriev said the second phase of the trial will be over by August 3.

“After that, a third phase of trials will begin in Russia and several countries,” he said, adding that Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and others would be involved.

He said that adenoviral vector-based vaccines had been developed since the 1980s and are generally safe.

Dmitriev, 45, said he himself had been vaccinated and had developed “stable immunity” 20 days after the first shot.

Last week Britain, the United States and Canada said a hacking group “almost certainly” linked to Russian intelligence had carried out attacks aimed at stealing vaccine research, a claim denied by Moscow.