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Russia has developed ‘first’ vaccine offering ‘sustainable immunity’ against Coronavirus: Vladimir Putin

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The announced vaccine, jointly developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute and the Russian Defence Ministry, had reportedly reached advanced stages of development and was set to pass state registration, despite concerns raised by the WHO.

SNS: Russia has developed the first vaccine offering “sustainable immunity” against Coronavirus, President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday.

“This morning, for the first time in the world, a vaccine against the new coronavirus was registered” in Russia, Putin said in a televised video conference call with government ministers.

Further speaking at a government event, Putin said that the vaccine has proven efficient during tests, offering a lasting immunity from the Coronavirus and emphasized that the vaccine underwent the necessary tests. He added that one of his two daughters has received a shot of the vaccine and is feeling well.

The announcement comes as reports have been floating that Moscow is all set to register its first COVID-19 vaccine this week despite safety concerns raised from several quarters, including the WHO.

The country has been pushing extensively for virus vaccine for quite some time now before it starts mass vaccination in October.

Russia’s Deputy Health Minister Oleg Gridnev recently revealed plans to register a Coronavirus vaccine on August 12, Sputnik news agency reported.

Russia is the fourth worst-hit nation after the US, Brazil and India.

The announced vaccine, jointly developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute and the Russian Defence Ministry, had reportedly reached advanced stages of development and was set to pass state registration.

On August 3, a “final medical examination” of participants in clinical trials of the vaccine took place at the Burdenko Main Military Clinical Hospital, the Russian Defence Ministry earlier 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.

But this vaccine is not among the six vaccines that have reached the crucial Phase 3 trial, according to the World Health Organization.

Responding to a question on concerns about any vaccine candidate that hits the market in this calendar year, Michael Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said that “we will still have to remain cautious”.

“Should we find that signal we should be able to move into production of that vaccine and begin to use it in human populations, but we will still have to remain cautious as we scale up the number of people vaccinated,” Ryan said.

“Side effects are rare, and they only become apparent when you vaccinate lots and lots of people. So there will still be a need for a monitoring phase even when we start to vaccinate at population level,” he said.

Of the six COVID-19 vaccine candidates that have reached the Phase 3 level according to the WHO, three are from China and the other three, include the ones developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, Moderna, and one jointly developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

Meanwhile, Russia had said on August 3 that it aims to launch mass production of a Coronavirus vaccine next month and turn out “several million” doses per month by next year.

“We are very much counting on starting mass production in September,” Industry Minister Denis Manturov had said in an interview published by state news agency TASS.

“We will be able to ensure production volumes of several hundred thousand a month, with an eventual increase to several million by the start of next year,” he said, adding that one developer is preparing production technology at three locations in central Russia.

The head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which finances the trials, had said he expects official registration of the vaccine to be complete “within ten days.”

“If this happens in the next ten days, we will be ahead not just of the United States but other countries too, it will be the first registered Coronavirus vaccine,” RDIF chief Kirill Dmitriev said in televised remarks.

Gamaleya’s vaccine is a so-called viral vector vaccine, meaning it employs another virus to carry the DNA encoding the needed immune response into cells.

Gamaleya’s vaccine is based on the adenovirus, a similar technology to the Coronavirus vaccine prototype developed by China’s CanSino, currently in the advanced stage of clinical trials.

Meanwhile, Russia has dismissed allegations from the UK, the United States and Canada that a hacking group linked to Russian intelligence services tried to steal information about a Coronavirus vaccine from labs in the West.

(With agency inputs)

 

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Foreign qualified medical students protest

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A group of foreign medical degree holders protested opposite the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (23) requesting that tangible measures be taken to conduct the Examination for Registration to Practice Medicine (ERPM) without further delay.

They alleged that over 1,500 students had been deprived of the opportunity to sit the examination due to the fault of the Sri Lanka Medical Council, which is now under investigation by a committee, appointed by Health Minister Pavitra Wanniarachchi.

Photo: A section of the protesting students (pic by Thushara Atapattu)

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SJB insists referendum necessary besides 2/3 majority in Parliament

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Supreme Court moved against 20A

By Chitra Weerarathne

General Secretary of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya Ranjith Madduma Bandara, MP, yesterday (23) filed a petition in the Supreme Court stating that the proposed 20th Amendment (20A) to the Constitution was inconsistent with the Constitution. It requires a two-thirds majority in Parliament and approval by people at a referendum for passage, the SJV has argued.

The SJB says 20A violates people’s sovereignty and franchise enshrined in Article (3) and (4) of the Constitution.

The petitioner has argued that the provisions in clause 55 of the Bill are inconsistent with the public trust doctrine and the principle of checks and balances and would prejudicially affect public finance.

 The clause 54 of the Bill seeks to repeal Article 156 A of the Constitution, which provides constitutional recognition to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or corruption, the petition says.

 The petition says 20A seeks to repeal the prohibition on dual citizens being elected to Parliament and to the post of President.

The power of the Auditor General to audit the state institutions has been curtailed, the petition says, arguing that it could be detrimental to the economy.

It will be detrimental to the country if the Constitutional Council is replaced by a Parliamentary Council, the SJB General Secretary’s has contended in his petition.

Clause 20 (2) of the proposed 20A has restricted the powers of the Election Commission as regards the conduct of elections, the petitioner has argued.

The 20A states that an omission by the President could no longer be challenged through a fundamental rights violation petitions in the Supreme Court, the petitioner has said, adding that the Bill seeks to further enhance the powers of the President by allowing him to unilaterally remove the Prime Minister. The President would not be accountable to Parliament, the petition says.

The 20A would repeal Article 70/ (1) of the Constitution and enable the President to dissolve Parliament even immediately after a general election, the SJB General Secretary argues.

The respondent to the petition is the Attorney General.

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Lawyer Hijaz’s foundation received funds from banned foreign outfit – CID tells court

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By A.J.A.A beynayake and Kasuni Rebecca

The CID yesterday informed the Colombo Fort Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage that Save the Pearls Trust run by lawyer Hijaz Hisbullah, now in custody for allegedly aiding and abetting one of the Easter Sunday bombers, had received Rs.13 million from a banned organisation named the Caliphate of Qatar.

The CID told court that according to the bank accounts of the trust the money had been received by it during the last few years and the police had launched an investigation to ascertain whether the funds had been used for terrorist activities.

The CID told court the investigation had been launched under the Money Laundering Act and a psychologist’s opinion had been sought on the book titled “Navarasam” found in a madrasa (school teaching Islam) run by Save the Pearls Trust in Puttalam.

The Magistrate order the CID to submit to court a Sinhala translation of the book and examine whether the contents of the book promoted terrorism.

The case will be taken up again on October 7.

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