As a major scientific power with nearly a century of vaccine research under its belt, Russia was one of the first countries in the world where scientists managed to sequence the whole genome of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), and begin the creation of several different COVID-19 vaccines simultaneously.
Recent testing of the population and signs of growing natural herd immunity to the coronavirus appears to demonstrate that Russian researchers working on whole-virus inactivated vaccines are on the right track with their work, says Dr. Alexander Sergeev, President of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
“We are hearing a lot of talk about subunit vaccines, DNA vaccines, RNA vaccines – these are high-tech in the field of new vaccines against coronavirus. However, by no means should one discount whole-virus vaccines, which have worked well to this day. We believe that creating such a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 is very interesting and promising work,” Sergeev said, speaking at an Academy of Sciences conference supported by Russia’s Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Scientific Russia web portal.
According to the academic, trends on coronavirus infection rates in Russia, where testing is among the highest-per-capita in the world (19 million and counting), seem to clearly demonstrate the value of the whole-virus vaccine approach.
“COVID-19 is characterized by a large number of asymptomatic patients. Such patients get a certain viral load and produce antibodies, but without showing any significant symptoms. In fact, relatively speaking, this is a kind of [natural] whole-virus vaccination,” he explained.