Three stages of clinical trials of the Ukrainian candidate for vaccines against coronavirus (COVID-19) will take about a year, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov has said.
“We still have a very long way to go for this vaccine candidate to become a vaccine. For this, we need to go through three phases of clinical trials. Now an appropriate production facility is being selected in Ukraine where this can be done. If our expectations come true, and the chosen manufacturer and the chosen path we go through normally, then in […] about a year, we can get original Ukrainian vaccine against COVID-19,” Stepanov said at an online briefing on Monday.
As reported, earlier the developers presented results of the preclinical study phase of original Ukrainian vaccine candidate to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
These studies lasted six months and include the presence of coronavirus neutralization in a sample of infected human cells. It was reported that this candidate for original Ukrainian vaccine is being created on the basis of a unique approach.
At the same time, Zelensky said that he cannot speak today about the timing of appearance of such a vaccine. If someone has a vaccine for COVID-19 earlier, Ukraine will buy it.
The Ministry of Health of Ukraine has asked the World Bank to increase the amount of funds previously considered for Ukraine in order to purchase vaccines, according to the agency’s website.
“Now the Ministry of Health has two priority areas in the fight against COVID-19 from the point of view of the healthcare system. The first one is to ensure maximum testing with PCR tests. Therefore, in addition to our large laboratories, it is important to consider the possibility of equipping laboratories for 200-250 PCR tests directly in hospitals. The second priority is the vaccine. We turned to the World Bank with a request to increase the amount of funds that were previously considered for allocating to Ukraine for the purchase of vaccines,” Minister of Health Maksym Stepanov said.
He expressed hope that these two areas will become the basis for new strategic projects between the Ministry of Health and the bank.
Arup Banerji, the World Bank Regional Country Director for Eastern Europe (Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine), in turn, promised “to cooperate with the ministry’s team to provide all the resources necessary to implement these directions.”
The Synevo medical laboratory plans to launch innovative rapid tests for detecting the COVID-19 antigen declared by WHO in Ukraine in the coming weeks.
Mykola Butenko, the director of development at Synevo, told Interfax-Ukraine that at present, the company has brought an experimental batch of Austrian-made tests to Ukraine and is finishing their “internal” testing.
“Next week, we are already waiting for the delivery of these tests to launch testing for customers. The first delivery will be about 8,000 systems. If necessary, the manufacturer is ready to fully cover the needs of our network for these test systems, so tests will be performed across the entire Synevo network in Ukraine,” he said.
According to Butenko, the test manufacturer is a well-known Austrian company that specializes in the production of rapid tests for laboratory diagnostics. The test systems have passed clinical trials and are certified according to international standards.
“The huge advantage of these rapid tests is that their sensitivity is 97%, and the result will be ready in 15-30 minutes. Therefore, the use of such test systems for the COVID-19 antigen allows mass screening testing in a short time, which is very valuable in the conditions of uncontrolled growth of the epidemic,” he added.
The cost of the declared express tests for COVID-19 antigen in the Synevo network is about UAH 800.
The Ministry of Health is in negotiations with foreign companies regarding the purchase of vaccines against COVID-19 immediately after their registration, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov has said during the hour of questions to the government in the Verkhovna Rada.
“We are negotiating with AstraZeneca regarding the number of vaccines they will be ready to supply to us. It has already been decided that, if confirmed, we are ready to make an advance payment. In addition, we are negotiating with a Chinese manufacturer, which is also at the third stage of testing. Ukraine was accepted into the COVAX initiative on the distribution of vaccines – 20% of the population, about 8 million doses for our country. The process of signing the relevant agreements, memorandums is underway, so that after the registration of vaccines we could receive them. We also communicate with other companies,” he said.
In addition, the minister said that the Ministry of Health is increasing its capacity to combat the pandemic.
“Laboratory centers are provided with tests for about 1.5 months. The tests are purchased mainly from two Ukrainian manufacturers, they are also purchased at the expense of the World Bank. In five months, we resumed the work of laboratory centers (from four to 69), and increased the number of PCR tests per day from 200 to almost 25,000. The total number of tests made has already reached almost 1.7 million,” Stepanov said.
He also noted that the situation with the incidence of doctors with COVID-19 has changed: to date, the number of sick doctors has decreased by almost four times.
Two players of the first team of football club Dynamo (Kyiv) Nazariy Rusiyn and Roman Vantukh have been diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) disease, the press service of the football club said.
“Forward of the first team Nazariy Rusyn was diagnosed with symptoms of COVID-19, after which he was promptly tested, which showed a positive result. The same was the result of the test of his roommate at the training base Roman Vantukh,” the club said on its official website on Sunday night, August 9.
The press service of the club said that after the detection of COVID-19 disease in the two players, all Dynamo players were urgently made PCR tests for COVID-19. All other results were negative.
Nazariy Rusyn and Roman Vantukh are isolated from the team and will undergo a two-week lockdown.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has instructed Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal to urgently assess the readiness of hospitals to help patients, to provide institutions with all the necessary equipment, given the rapid growth in the number of cases of COVID-19 coronavirus infection in the country.
The Office of the President reported on Saturday that the head of state instructed the government to provide medical workers with personal protective equipment in full amount and to strengthen control over compliance with quarantine rules.
Also, the Cabinet of Ministers must revise the operation of the entry points on the administrative border with the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.
“Ukraine knows how to mobilize if necessary. It’s time for the government to mobilize to prevent a second wave of coronavirus infection, which can have dire consequences not only for the economy, but also for our human capital,” Volodymyr Zelensky said.