Early clinical trials have been completed on a second Russian vaccine, a health official said Wednesday, moving it closer to registration under the Russian approach of approving vaccines for emergency use before beginning late-stage trials to determine whether they are effective.
Early trials provide information about safety, though rare side effects may go undetected until much larger late-stage trials are conducted. The later trials, known as Phase 3, are the only means of determining whether a vaccine actually protects against the coronavirus.
Russia registered its first Covid-19 vaccine — one based on common cold viruses — in August, and is now offering a small number of doses outside of trials to people at elevated risk of infection, like health care workers. Western vaccine experts criticized the Russian approach as potentially dangerous.
Anna Papova, the head of Rospotrebnadzor, a Russian agency regulating health care, said on Wednesday that researchers had completed early clinical trials of a different vaccine, based on proteins that mimic those in the coronavirus.
Ms. Papova defended the Russian regulatory approach, saying that it drew on a long history of Soviet vaccine development. “The Russian vaccines deserve absolutely no criticism,” she said.
Her agency said earlier this month that it planned to register the second vaccine, made by Vektor, a Siberian laboratory that studied biological weapons during the Cold War, by Oct. 15. A third Russian vaccine, made by the Chumakov Institute in Moscow and based on inactivated coronavirus, is now in early-stage trials.
In other developments around the world:
A health official in Russia said that early clinical trials have been completed on a second vaccine, moving it closer to registration under the Russian approach of approving vaccines for emergency use before beginning late-stage trials to determine whether they are effective. Russia registered its first Covid-19 vaccine — one based on common cold viruses — in August, and is now offering a small number of doses outside of trials to people at elevated risk of infection, like health care workers. Western vaccine experts criticized the Russian approach as potentially dangerous.
A former president and opposition politician in Ukraine, Petro O. Poroshenko, announced on Wednesday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus amid a flurry of virus-related disruptions to Ukrainian politics. The Parliament said on Wednesday that it had canceled plenary sessions until Oct. 20 because of rising infections. The speaker, Dmytro Razumkov, said at least 10 members of Parliament tested positive before the shutdown.
South Korea said on Wednesday that it would impose a fine of up to $85 on anyone caught without a mask in high-risk areas like outdoor gatherings and public transportation, starting on Oct. 13. As people in the country began on Wednesday to celebrate Chuseok, a major holiday that runs through the weekend, health officials reported 113 new cases, the highest daily tally in five days.
cases. In the Czech Republic, the order comes into effect on Monday. “If we don’t do anything, we will end up in a situation when all our hospital beds will be filled with Covid patients,” said Health Minister Roman Prymula. Slovakia’s state of emergency begins Thursday and will be in place for 45 days, Prime Minister Igor Matovic said on Facebook. The country will also evaluate what happens when residents travel for All Saints Day, on Nov. 1, a national holiday and busy travel time.
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany warned citizens that infections will probably rise and called for vigilance. “I appeal to you all, follow the rules that will be in effect in the next while,” she said in a prepared speech during a budget debate. “We have a difficult time ahead of us with autumn and winter approaching.”