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First group of elderly volunteers receives Sputnik V vaccine — doctor

No negative reactions have been observed so far

MOSCOW, October 31. /TASS/. The first group of volunteers aged 60 and older has been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, said Chief Researcher of Russia’s Central Clinical Hospital Nikita Lomakin, who heads the trials.

‘[The trials] began early last week. The first group of volunteers underwent health screenings last Thursday, was hospitalized on Sunday and received a dose of the vaccine on October 28. We plan to engage 110 people into the research," he said in an interview with Russia’s Izvestia newspaper.

The first group of volunteers comprises 28 members, including people with chronic conditions typical for the elderly, such as diabetes, hypertension and chronic renal insufficiency. The oldest person in the group is 82 years of age.

"We noticed no [negative] reactions, at least in the first group of patients: no skin reactions, no increased body temperature, no preclinical [flu] symptoms," the researcher went on.

According to Lomakin, the majority of volunteers aged below 60 years complained of malaise and increased body temperature within the first 24-49 hours after receiving the vaccine. However, no such reactions were observed in the elderly group.

The researcher attributed the trend to the fact that human immune system becomes more suppressed with age.

The second group of about 25-40 elderly volunteers is expected to be convoked on November 1, the third one - a week later. All volunteers have been insured.

Unlike the post-registration trials on 40,000 volunteers also under way at the moment, the study involving elderly persons is not placebo-controlled.

"Preliminary conclusions [about the outcome of the trials] can be made on the 42nd day," the Russian doctor said.

On August 11, the Sputnik V vaccine developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology was registered by Russia’s Health Ministry and became the world’s first registered vaccine against COVID-19. Post-registration trials began in Moscow on September 7. First doses of the vaccine were administered on September 9. Overall, the trial program involves some 40,000 people, including 10,000 people who received placebo instead of the vaccine.

The Russian Health Ministry’s press service announced earlier this week that it had issued a permission to carry out separate clinical trials of the vaccine on volunteers aged 60 and older.