Dozens of representatives of the Russian political and business elite have been given access to the experimental vaccine against Covid-19, developed by the Moscow National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology named after Honorary Academician Gamalei, reports Bloomberg.
Top managers of large Russian corporations, including Rusal, as well as oligarchs and officials have been vaccinated since April, the publication said.
Bloomberg cites a researcher who has access to test materials and says that the program, which gives businessmen and officials the opportunity to get vaccinated, is legal, but it is not advertised to avoid an influx of people willing to take part in it.
According to him, it is a question of several hundred representatives of elite.
Bloomberg has managed to confirm information about dozens of such people, but they prefer not to disclose their names because it is not public information.
It is not known by what criteria these participants are selected, their results are not taken into account in the official survey, but they are monitored and the data are stored at the institute.
Patients are usually vaccinated at a Moscow clinic run by the institute. In order for the body to develop immunity, you need to be vaccinated twice.
According to one of the top managers who did the vaccination, he did not feel any side effects. Despite the risk, he agreed to the experiment in order to be able to hold meetings as usual, as before the pandemic. Other test takers reported bloomberg fever and muscle pain after vaccination.
Work on the vaccine is funded by the Russian Direct Investment Fund with the support of the Russian military. Last week, the first phase of testing with 40 people was completed. Its results were not made public, but it is known that the second stage was started with more people involved.
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According to Russian statistics, more than 750,000 positive Covid-19 cases have been registered in the country since the beginning of the pandemic. In terms of the number of patients, Russia ranks fourth in the world.
The program of the Gamaleya Research Center on the way to the vaccine is advancing faster than its counterparts in the West, writes Bloomberg.
The publication quotes the head of the Russian Fund for Direct Investments Kirill Dmitriev, who says that the third stage of testing will begin on August 3 and will cover thousands of people not only in Russia but also in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The fund expects that the vaccine will be available to all Russians in September. In the West, the last – third stage of testing usually lasts several months to better understand the effect of the vaccine and its effectiveness, the publication notes.