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Russian coronavirus vaccine to be tested on ferrets and primates

Novosibirsk’s Vector Institute, which has developed a prototype of the coronavirus vaccine, will test it first on the most sensitive lab animals – lower primates and ferrets, Vector Institute Deputy Chairwoman on Research Yelena Gavrilova said on TV Friday.

Earlier reports indicated that Vector has developed a prototype coronavirus vaccine. Now, it will be tested on the sensitive lab animals. It would allow determining the most effective dosage, frequency and administration method of the vaccine, TASS reports.

“Currently, we have both vaccines based on known recombinant viruses and synthetic vaccine, developed on six separate technological platforms. We have already began experiments on animal lab models. Immediately after we got our hands on the living virus, we conducted studies on getting sensitive lab models, which turned out to be ferrets and lower primates. Now that we have vaccine prototypes, we test them on the lab animals,” Gavrilova said.

In late December 2019, Chinese authorities notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus – named COVID-19 by the WHO – have been reported in more than 140 countries, including Russia.

On March 11, the WHO declared the outbreak of a global pandemic. As of now, over 230,000 people have been infected around the world and about 10,000 have died. Russia has identified 199 cases so far.

The Vector Institute of Virology and Biotechnology, created in 1974, is one of the world’s largest organizations of its kind. Initially, it studied deadly diseases, such as anthrax and tularemia. Now, Vector develops means of infection diseases diagnosis and treatment under the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor, Russian sanitary watchdog). In particular, the Institute specialists work on swine flu, HIV and Ebola vaccines.