Gamaleya Center Director Alexander Gintsburg has called on Russia to develop genetic vaccine prototypes in anticipation of future public health crises.
To avoid another Covid-like pandemic, it is necessary to create a “national collection” of vaccine preparations designed to counter the “characteristics of possible pandemic pathogens”, Gintsburg said in an interview with TASS. Vaccine formulas can be “developed and created using certified and tested technology. Currently in our country such technology … is the technology used to make Sputnik V, that is, the technology of genetically engineered adenoviral vectors,” he explained.
The rapid deployment of vaccine preparations will play a crucial role in fighting a “possible pandemic pathogen, or ‘Disease X’ as they call it in Davos”, Gintsburg said, referring to recent discussions at the World Economic Forum about the arrival of a hypothetical “Disease X”.
The lead scientist behind Sputnik V told TASS that the Covid pandemic had demonstrated how safe and effective vaccines could be created not in decades, but in as little as five months. Ideally, vaccines should be administered to the public 1 to 1.5 months in advance to stop future pandemics from ravaging the population and the economy, Gintsburg said.
Despite Gintsburg’s confidence in his genetic vaccine formula, the Russian government has declined to disclose the results of Sputnik V’s “tested technology”. In January 2022, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Health Protection Alexei Kurinny filed a complaint to the Prosecutor General’s Office about the Ministry of Health’s unwillingness to release Sputnik V’s clinical trial results.
The ministry defended its decision by explaining that data about Sputnik V’s safety and efficacy was “confidential and contains information constituting a commercial secret.”
In October 2023, the State Duma Committee on Health Protection rejected a proposed bill authored by Kurinny that would have required drug makers to publish the final results of clinical trials.
In the same month, Gintsburg revealed that Sputnik V was no longer effective against Covid and that the drug’s formula would have to be updated.
TASS reported last week that close to 300,000 doses of the updated vaccine have been shipped to Russia’s regions.
Gamaleya is also developing an updated Covid vaccine for adolescents. On Tuesday, Gintsburg announced that no adverse reactions had been identified while testing the new drug on children ages 12-17.