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Vector Center detects over 80 COVID-19 mutations not affecting vaccine’s efficiency

The preparation is safe for people with allergies and seniors, according to the center’s general director

MOSCOW, October 21. /TASS/. The Vector State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing has detected over 80 mutations of the coronavirus yet they do not affect the effectiveness of the developed vaccine, the center’s General Director Rinat Maksyutov reported on Wednesday.

"The Vector Center is additionally conducting extensive studies of the genetic variability of the novel coronavirus in all Russian regions. <...> We constantly perform whole-genome sequencing and detect possible mutant variants. To date, we have detected over 80 nucleotide substitutions which are not included in international databases. But these changes are not critical and do not influence the effectiveness of the peptide vaccine developed," he said at the 17th annual meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club.

Safety for vulnerable groups

The coronavirus vaccine developed by Siberia’s Vector Center is safe for people with allergies or chronic conditions and seniors, the general director of the center said Wednesday. "The vaccine is fully safe both for healthy volunteers, people with chronic conditions or allergies and seniors."

The trials showed that the vaccine has high immunogenicity properties. "We confirmed that the peptide vaccine showed both the high safety profile and high immunogenicity in the conducted clinical trials involving 100 volunteers as all volunteers who received the shot had an immune response. This sampling gives us proof of the protective effectiveness in the framework of the conducted epidemiological research," Maksyutov pointed out.

On July 24, the Vector Research Center obtained the Healthcare Ministry’s permit to conduct clinical trials of its vaccine, named EpiVacCorona, on volunteers. This phase of trials concluded on September 30, and in mid-October the vaccine obtained the registration certificate. Based on one of the promising synthetic platforms, it is a peptide vaccine, consisting of artificially synthesized short fragments of viral proteins (peptides) which allow the immune system to learn to recognize and neutralize the virus. This is the second vaccine developed by Russian specialists.

According to the latest statistics, about 40.8 mln people have been infected worldwide and more than 1.12 mln deaths have been reported. To date, 1,447,335 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 1,096,650 patients having recovered from the disease. Russia’s latest data indicates 24,952 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.