Russian State Employees Describe Pressure to Join Vaccine Trials | World News


By Polina Ivanova, Rinat Sagdiev, Gleb Stolyarov and Kate Kelland

MOSCOW (Reuters) – In late September, Moscow municipal official Sergei Martyanov sent a series of text messages to his subordinates: “Colleagues!!!… What is this sabotage???”

Martyanov was expressing dismay at his staff’s apparent reluctance to volunteer for the human trials of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, named after the Soviet-era satellite that triggered the space race. The official in the Moscow department of city property said many quota spots for his staff to join the trial remained unfilled.

He said he had heard some workers were signing up to receive flu vaccines, making them ineligible for the coronavirus trial.

“Who are you trying to trick???” Martyanov said in the texts. “The coronavirus vaccine is the absolute priority!!!”

Anyone who had received the flu jab, he said, must still sign up for the COVID trial, allowing a month’s delay. He urged

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UAB vaccine trials might begin next week


Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham hope to begin enrolling patients next week for a clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Paul Goepfert, director of UAB’s Alabama Vaccine Research Clinic, said the clinic is hoping to gain approval this week to start enrolling patients in a study to test the effectiveness of a COVID vaccine being manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. The drug-maker is trying to recruit 60,000 participants for the study.

While early vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna have shown near 95 percent effectiveness in preliminary data, Goepfert said those vaccines are very expensive and have to be administered in two doses, one month apart. They also require deep-freeze storage at -70 degrees Celsius, which requires special equipment and makes distribution difficult.

The vaccine UAB plans to test requires only standard refrigeration, can be given in a single dose, and is much cheaper to produce,

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UK to run final stage trials of Janssen Covid vaccine


LONDON (AP) — Britain will be the first country to run final stage trials of an experimental coronavirus vaccine being developed by the pharmaceutical company Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

Scientists will begin recruiting some 6,000 people across the U.K. on Monday for the 12-month trial.

Dr. Saul Faust, who is helping lead the study, said the research will start first in Britain but aims to recruit a total of 30,000 people in six countries around the world.

The shot uses a harmless cold virus to deliver the spike protein of the coronavirus into the body, which scientists hope will prompt an immune response.


Faust said the news from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech last week that their vaccine appears to be 90% effective according to preliminary data was a welcome boost for their research.

“It’s fantastic news that vaccines aimed at the spike protein can prevent

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Canada bets on imports as home-grown COVID-19 vaccine heads to large-scale trials


TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada’s reliance on supply contracts to secure COVID-19 vaccines from drugmakers like Pfizer Inc has put daily life for Canadians, and prospects for the economy over the next year, in the hands of a few foreign companies facing overwhelming global demand.

Medicago employees harvest Nicotiana benthamiana plants to extract virus-like particles (VLP) in Medicago’s Durham Facility in Durham, North Carolina, U.S. in an undated photograph. Medicago/Handout via REUTERS.

As other governments pour hundreds of millions or billions into vaccine development, Canada has earmarked C$1 billion ($761 million) to buy doses abroad. Meanwhile, Quebec-based Medicago has worked with a shoestring budget on its home-grown, plant-based vaccine.

Medicago, owned by Japan’s Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma and tobacco company Philip Morris, reported promising early trial data this week and said on Thursday it plans to begin large-scale studies. The vaccine uses an efficacy booster from GlaxoSmithKline called an adjuvant.

If pivotal

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