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Russia starts testing Sputnik V vaccine on cancer patients — developer

First experience demonstrates that no cancer disease can serve as a contraindication to the use of Sputnik V

MOSCOW, March 13. /TASS/. The tests of Russia’s Sputnik V anti-coronavirus vaccine on oncology patients have already begun, said Alexander Gintsburg, the director of the Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology that developed Sputnik V.

"In a separate development, the research [of Sputnik V vaccine] involving oncology patients has de-facto begun. The research is being carried out jointly with [chief non-resident oncologist of the Russian Healthcare Ministry] Andrei Dmitrievich Kaprin," he said in an interview on the Solovyev Live YouTube channel on Saturday.

Earlier, the chief non-resident oncologist of the Russian Healthcare Ministry told TASS that a general plan and protocols of Sputnik V trials on cancer patients have already been prepared, and a selection of volunteers was about to begin. The trials are estimated to take six or seven months.

According to Gintsburg, first experience demonstrates that no cancer disease can serve as a contraindication to the use of Sputnik V. The only exception are patients who are undergoing chemotherapy and take medicines that suppress cell proliferation.

"If a person is taking a medicine of this kind, vaccination will do him no harm, but, at the same time, there will be no effect, because it [the medicine] suppresses protective functions of a patient’s body, including [production of] antibodies," he explained.

Moreover, according to the Sputnik V developer, vaccination is prohibited for people with severe allergic reactions, such as angiodema, in order to avert the possibility of an anaphylactic shock.

Mass vaccination of the adult population against the novel coronavirus in Russia began on January 18. Russians can currently be vaccinated free of charge with one of the two registered vaccines - Sputnik V or EpiVacCorona.

On August 11, Russia became the first country in the world to register a coronavirus vaccine named Sputnik V, which was developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Russian Health Ministry. The injection passed clinical trials in June-July. The post-registration trials of Sputnik V began in Moscow on September 7, volunteers received the first vaccines already on September 9. Overall, the trials were supposed to include 40,000 people, 10,000 of them received placebo instead of the vaccine.