Putin tests experimental nasal vaccine against COVID-19

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he took an experimental nasal vaccine against the coronavirus three days after receiving his booster shot as Russia faces its worst wave of infections and deaths since the start of the pandemic

Putin was vaccinated in the spring with Sputnik V, Russia’s domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine. On Sunday, he said he had received a booster shot of Sputnik Light, the single-dose version of the jab, and said he wanted to participate in the testing of the nasal version of Sputnik V.

Denis Logunov, deputy director of the state-funded Gamaleya Center in Russia that developed Sputnik V, told Putin on Sunday that the nasal vaccine has not yet been clinically studied and is currently being tested “mostly off-label” on the staff of the hospital. Centre.

In accordance with established scientific protocols, the vaccine will have to go through several phases of testing, including those involving thousands of people, to determine that it is safe and effective to use.

Last month, Russia’s health ministry gave the go-ahead for early trials of the nasal form of Sputnik V among 500 volunteers, but it was not immediately clear whether it had started yet.

Putin told a government meeting on Wednesday that “exactly six months after vaccination my titers of protective (antibodies) have dropped, and specialists recommended the procedure of revaccination, which I did.”

He said he did not experience any unpleasant effects after taking the nasal vaccine.

In recent weeks, Russia has been engulfed by its highest-ever COVID-19 spike, with officials regularly recording record high numbers of new infections and deaths.

The rise came amid low vaccination rates and a lax public attitude towards taking precautions. Less than 40% of Russia’s nearly 146 million people have been fully vaccinated, even though the country approved a domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine months ahead of the rest of the world.

Russia’s health ministry is expected to approve a version of Sputnik V for teenagers ages 12 to 17 on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova told Putin at the government meeting.

According to the Russian State Register of Clinical Trials, the jab, which is essentially a smaller dose of Sputnik V, was tested on more than 3,600 volunteers. No efficacy data has yet been released.

Russia’s coronavirus task force reported 33,558 new infections and 1,240 deaths on Wednesday. Golikova called the daily death rates “dramatic”, while noting that the infections in the country are on a downward trend.

In total, the task force has reported more than 9.4 million confirmed infections and more than 267,000 COVID-19 deaths, by far the highest death toll in Europe. Some experts believe the actual figure is even higher.

Reports from Russia’s Statistical Service, Rosstat, retrospectively adding up coronavirus-related deaths reveal much higher mortality. They say 462,000 people have died with COVID-19 between April 2020 and September this year.

Russian officials have said the task force includes only deaths for which COVID-19 was the main cause, and uses data from medical facilities. Rosstat uses broader criteria for counting virus-related deaths and gets his figures from the registry office where the registration of a death is completed.

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Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

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