Russia has temporarily halted its COVID-19 vaccine trials due to high demand and shortage of doses, as reported by the news agency Reuters, quoting a representative at the firm running the trials.
The official representing Crocus Medical said, “It’s related to the fact that there’s a colossal demand for the vaccine and they are not producing enough to keep up.” The firm has been running the trials along with the Russian health ministry. The officials also added that vaccination will re-start around 10th November.
However, Alexei Kuznetsov, aide to Russia’s health minister; told the news agency that the human trial of the vaccine, named Sputnik-V, continued. Russia is currently testing its main experimental vaccine, named as Sputnik-V, on 40,000 people in Moscow. It has already begun vaccinating frontline workers, but only in small numbers.
The development comes against the backdrop of reports suggesting that Russia is facing challenges scaling up production with equipment availability.
By a video link to an investor forum in Russia; Russian President Vladimir Putin said, “There is one question right now and that’s providing; for industrial production in necessary volumes. There are certain problems with this, related to the availability, or lack, of the necessary equipment. Hard materials that are needed for the roll-out of mass production.”
Moscow aims to produce 300,000 doses of the vaccine this month; followed by 800,000 in November, and 1.5 million in December; reaching significantly higher volumes in early 2021.
Though, Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology; and its contract research organisation Crocus Medical denied a report that said; the country has temporarily halted its trial due to a shortage of doses.
Alexey Butyline, managing director of the Moscow branch of Crocus Medical, said in a stamen that “Crocus Medical categorically denies information about the suspension of clinical trials of the Sputnik-V corona virus vaccine due to a shortage of the vaccine distributed by Reuters, citing anonymous sources in the company. This information is false, trials are ongoing, and there is sufficient vaccine supply.”
Gamaleya director Alexander Ginzburg further explained that the trials continue, with inoculations going on as usual. Gamaleya Research Institute is the co-developer of the vaccine along with the Russian Direct Investment Fund.
Ginzburg said, “It’s just the gap between the first; and second doses is quite significant the first component has already been received by 20 thousand, and; the first and the second about 9 thousand. Therefore, we decided to slightly narrow this gap.”