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COVID-19: Russian research center says early trials of its coronavirus vaccine successful

Matt Dunn, a researcher for the Center for Vaccine Research at the University of Pittsburgh, holds dead samples of the coronavirus (COVID-19). (Nate Guidry, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The global death toll from the coronavirus is more than 1 million, with more than 34 million infections confirmed, causing mass disruptions as governments continue to try to slow the spread of the respiratory illness.

Here’s a roundup of COVID-19 developments in RFE/RL’s broadcast regions


Russia’s Vektor, a secret state virology research center in Siberia, says early clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine have proven successful.

“The first two phases of clinical trials demonstrated the effectiveness and safety of the EpiVacCorona vaccine,” Vektor’s press department was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency on October 1.

The statement comes a day after the Russian consumer safety watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, said that EpiVacCorona’s early clinical human trials had been completed and that all the volunteers taking part in clinical trials are feeling fine.

EpiVacCorona is expected to be registered by October 15, Rospotrebnadzor officials said on September 30.

According to the chief of the Russian Sciences Academy, Vladimir Chekhonin, the report means the country’s scientists are at an advanced stage of development with three different COVID-19 vaccines.

Russian authorities have said that the first batch of Sputnik V was released for civil distribution on September 8, adding that a countrywide COVID-19 vaccination campaign will begin in October following post-registration tests.

Vektor has indicated the EpiVacCorona vaccine will be available for use later next year.

Chekhonin said that complete information concerning a third COVID-19 vaccine, which is being developed by the Chumakov Institute in Moscow, is expected to be available by May 2021. He gave no further details.

The EpiVacCorona vaccine is a two-component vaccine. The interval between the administration of the first and second components is 21 days.

Russia plans to manufacture an initial 10,000 doses, Vektor said, with production expected to begin in November.


Uzbekistan has lifted a ban on international travel imposed in mid-March to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

According to a government commission decision, all international flights, railways lines, and automobile transportation to and from the Central Asian nation were allowed to resume on October 1.

In accordance with the new regulations, individuals entering Uzbekistan by vehicles from neighboring Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan will have to provide a medical document confirming that they are not infected with the coronavirus and are obliged to observe a 14-day quarantine period upon entering the country.

Individuals who arrived from Uzbekistan after having stayed for at least 14 days in China, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, Georgia, Hungary, Finland, Latvia, Austria, and Japan are now allowed to enter the country without any restrictions.

Those who arrived in Uzbekistan from countries labelled as so-called “red zones” and “yellow zones,” except Azerbaijan, Belarus, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom, are allowed to enter Uzbekistan only if they have a documented negative test result no older than 72 hours.

Uzbekistan shut its borders and suspended transport links with other countries in mid-March because of the outbreak.

Only charter flights and special trains used for repatriating foreigners who were stuck in Uzbekistan were allowed.

As of October 1, the number of registered coronavirus cases in Uzbekistan was 56,997, including 471 deaths, while 53,457 people had recovered.