‘A virologist is always betting on the virus’. Scientists behind Russia’s ‘third vaccine’ explain why they believe in their product (despite publishing zero articles about it) and why they support mandatory vaccinations in Moscow

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In June, Russians started receiving the CoviVac vaccine, the third COVID-19 vaccine registered in the country, which was developed by researchers at the Chumakov Research Center. CoviVac uses tried-and-true vaccine technology — it consists of an inactivated (“dead”) virus and an immune stimulant. At the moment, doses are still hard to come by, but manufacturers promise to put a million doses into circulation by the end of June — and five to six million by the end of the year. To learn more about CoviVac, Meduza correspondents Svetlana Reiter and Alexander Yershov spoke to several Chumakov Research Center employees: Deputy Director for Quality and Innovation Alexandra Sinyugina, Deputy Director for Regulatory Issues Yekaterina Korduban, Innovative Biotechnical Medications Department Head Ilya Gordeichuk, and Department of Current and Newly Emerging Infections with Pandemic Potential Lyubov Kozlovskaya. Why did it take so long for CoviVac to reach the market? How does it differ from other COVID-19 vaccines? How sure are we that the virus in the vaccine is really “dead” and can’t hurt people? And why do its developers think mandatory vaccinations are a good idea?

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