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Medical Developments to Fight COVID-19 Emerge From Russia

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Despite the launch of multiple COVID-19 vaccines, the rollout for production and administration of these vaccines has been extremely slow around the world. Israel has been the sole country to immunize more than half its population. Meanwhile, most European countries as well the United States have struggled. Their vaccination rate has not allowed them to turn the tide of morbidity – there are simply not enough vaccines for everyone and there are logistical hurdles with transportation and storage that need to be overcome. In the midst of these ongoing challenges, Kagocel and Sputnik V have emerged from Russia as promising contenders in the fight against coronavirus.

Sputnik was one of the world’s first COVID-19 vaccines to be developed. The scientific magazine Lancet released an article on the Russian coronavirus vaccine, confirming its high efficacy rate of 91.6% for full protection against severe cases. The World Health Organization has also officially recognized the Lancet article as proof of Sputnik V’s efficiency. Despite the establishment of its efficacy and credibility, registering this Russian medication in countries in the European Union has faced local opposition and hesitancy.

Despite the efficacy of Sputnik V and other vaccines, the emergence of new coronavirus strains is making it clear that there is no 100% guaranteed protection against all forms of COVID-19. The recently identified British strain has been found to be highly infectious. Moreover, according to British Sky News, scientists have also identified a second type of that new strain, which is likely to be able to interact with the vaccine in a special way and even counteract it. Another strain was also discovered in South Africa, adding to the growing concern around the world about the likelihood of success with any vaccine for all of these additional strains.

In addition to Sputnik V, there is a second medical solution in the fight against COVID-19 that has emerged from Russia. Kagocel is a very popular anti-viral drug that uses interferon inducers which increase the body’s resistance to any viral infections. Interferon inducers have been used extensively for the past several years in Russia to prevent standard ARVI (commonly known as a cold) and influenza. Kagocel has been recommended by the Russian Ministry of Health for years. The World Health Organization has also recognized the promising potential of such medications. The development of immunomodulators is one of the tasks of the Global Influenza Strategy 2019-2030 as well as the BRaVe, the ARVI Initiative.

While vaccines like Sputnik V and drugs like Kagocel have been proven successful, there is still pushback from countries like the U.S. and those in the EU about using these Russian medical solutions. “There are not many drugs using interferon inducers on the pharmaceuticals market. They were developed 45-50 years ago in the USSR,” explained Alexander Ginzburg, director of The Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Russia. “I’d not be revealing a big military secret if I say that they were developed to protect organized collectives, because the massive influx of people facilitates the spread of the infection. When perestroika began, these drugs were very quickly put into commercial use. In Western medicine, I do not know their analogues. It would be a significant missed opportunity to overlook interferon inducers in the fight against COVID-19″.

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