Putin tests experimental nasal vaccine against COVID-19

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Russian President Vladimir Putin says he has had an experimental nasal vaccine against the coronavirus three days after his booster shot, as Russia faces its worst surge of infections and deaths since the pandemic began.

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Russia is facing its worst surge of infections and deaths since the pandemic began and is struggling to overcome widespread vaccine hesitation.

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Putin was vaccinated with Russia’s domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, in the spring. On Sunday, he said he had received a booster shot of Sputnik Lite, a one-dose version of the jab, and said he would like to participate in testing a nasal version of the Sputnik V.

Denis Logunov, deputy director of Russia’s state-funded Gamalya Center that developed Sputnik V, told Putin on Sunday that the nasal vaccine has yet to undergo clinical studies and is currently “off” on staff members of the center. -label mostly” being tested.

According to established scientific protocols, the vaccine must go through several testing phases, involving thousands of people, to establish that it is safe and effective to use.

Last month, Russia’s health ministry granted a regulatory approval for initial trials of the nasal form of Sputnik V among 500 volunteers, but it was not immediately clear whether this had already begun.

Putin told a government meeting on Wednesday that “just six months after vaccination, my protective (antibody) titers have dropped, and experts have recommended the process of vaccination, which I did.”

He said that he did not experience any unpleasant effects after taking the nasal vaccine.

In recent weeks, Russia has been swept away by its highest COVID-19 surge, with officials regularly reporting record-high numbers of new infections and deaths.

The surge came amid low vaccination rates and people’s lax attitude towards taking precautions. Less than 40% of Russia’s nearly 146 million people have been fully vaccinated, even though the country approved a home-grown COVID-19 vaccine months before most of the world.

Russia’s health ministry is expected to approve a version of Sputnik V for adolescents aged 12 to 17 on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova told Putin during a government meeting.

The jab, which is a small dose of Sputnik V for short, was being tested on more than 3,600 volunteers, according to Russia’s State Registry of Clinical Trials. No data has yet been released on its efficacy.

Vaccination campaigns in Russia have been hampered by widespread vaccine hesitation. A survey released earlier this month by the independent pollster Levada Center showed that 45% of Russians were unwilling to receive the shots that were domestically grown.

In an effort to promote the vaccine, doctors at 11 Russian hospitals issued an open letter on Wednesday, inviting vaccine skeptics — and in particular several prominent public figures who publicly voice their doubts. Known for giving – for visiting coronavirus wards and intensive care units with COVID-19 patients.

“Maybe after that you will change your mind and fewer people will die,” the letter read.

Russia’s state coronavirus task force on Wednesday reported 33,558 new infections and 1,240 deaths. Golikova called the daily death toll “dramatic”, noting that the contagion trend in the country has been declining.

Overall, the task force has reported more than 9.4 million confirmed infections and more than 267,000 COVID-19 deaths, the highest death toll in Europe to date. Some experts believe the true figure is even higher.

The report from Rosstat, Russia’s statistical service, which retrospectively tallied deaths linked to the coronavirus, reveals a much higher death rate. They say 462,000 people died with COVID-19 between April 2020 and September this year.

Russian officials have said the task force only includes deaths for which COVID-19 was the main cause, and uses data from medical facilities. Rosstat uses broad criteria for counting virus-related deaths and takes its numbers from civil registry offices where deaths are finalized.

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