Russia to start coronavirus vaccine clinical trials in two weeks, health minister says

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Russian scientists plan to start clinical trials within two weeks on a vaccine to combat the novel coronavirus, the health minister was quoted as saying on Saturday as authorities approved the country’s first anti-COVID-19 drug.

Russia has the world’s third-highest toll of coronavirus infections after the United States and Brazil, and Kremlin officials have said the nation’s researchers are working on almost 50 different vaccine projects.

“The tests are under way and we plan to start clinical trials in the next two weeks,” Health Minister Mikhail Murashko was quoted as saying by the TASS news agency. He said volunteers had been selected to take part in the trials.

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Drugmakers worldwide are rushing to develop treatments and vaccines for the virus that has caused 364,000 deaths globally.

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The Russian Direct Investment Fund said the Health Ministry had approved Avifavir for the treatment of COVID-19.

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It was developed on the basis of a drug known generically as favipiravir.

1:03Coronavirus outbreak: Russia sees surge in new cases,

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