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Russia bats for safety of its Covid-19 vaccine

The Russian Ministry of Defence has said that a Covid-19 vaccine that it developed in partnership with the Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology appears to be safe.

On August 3, a "final medical examination" of participants in clinical trials of the vaccine took place at the Burdenko Main Military Clinical Hospital, it said in a statement.

The results clearly showed that all volunteers had a clear immune response resulting from vaccination, the ministry said, adding that there were no side effects or abnormalities in the work of the volunteers.

"Thus, the available data of laboratory and instrumental studies allow us to speak about the safety and good tolerance of the vaccine," the statement added.

The announcement comes amid international skepticism surrounding Russia's approach to developing Covid-19.

According to the World Health Organisation, at least 26 Covid-19 vaccine candidates are in clinical trials around the world, including one early-stage one from the Gamaleya Institute, CNBC reported yesterday.

But the UN health agency did not list any second or third-phase trials from Russia in its latest update of the list.

Last month, officials in the US, Canada and Britain accused Russia of attempting to hack and steal Covid-19 vaccine data.

In a BBC interview in July, Russia's envoy in Britain said that there was "no sense" in the allegations.

According to Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, the country is planning a mass vaccination campaign against the novel coronavirus for October.

"We plan wider (vaccination) for October because we need to launch a new system of treatment gradually," the Minister told TASS News Agency on Saturday.

Another vaccine, developed by the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology Vector, was going through clinical trials, he said.

Moreover, the Health Ministry in Russia expects that two more vaccine developers will request permission to start clinical trials on volunteers in the coming weeks..