MOSCOW, April 21. /TASS/. Russia’s Vector State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology has formed a preliminary group of volunteers aged between 18 and 60 for preclinical trials of vaccine against the novel coronavirus, researcher Natalya Dumchenko has said.
Vector Director General Rinat Maksyutov said in early April that preclinical tests will begin in early May and last until June 22. The vaccine has already been tested on animals.
‘We have formed a preliminary group of volunteers, aged between 18 and 60, with the verified ‘healthy’ status. In other words, we have healthy volunteers without chronic conditions," Dumchenko said in an interview to the information center that monitors the novel coronavirus situation.
She said that the majority of those volunteers are Vector employees, who are involved in developing the vaccine and checking its quality.
"In the run-up to the vaccination - no earlier than one week before it - an additional health screening will be held to confirm the ‘healthy’ status and the absence of antibodies to the virus," Dumchenko added.
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.
On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 2,414,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 165,000 deaths have been reported.
To date, a total of 47,121 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 3,446 patients having recovered from the virus. Russia’s latest data indicates 405 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.