Russia denies that super rich are getting the good vaccine!

By BBC Monitoring

A Russian Health Ministry official and research centres testing an experimental vaccine against Covid-19 have denied reports that the country's business and political leadership have been given early access to it outside of clinical trials. 

Earlier today, Bloomberg news agency reported that Russian businessmen and officials began getting shots of a vaccine in April, developed by the state-run Gamaleya Institute in Moscow.

"At present, the vaccine has not been released. Its usage outside the framework of clinical trials is impossible," Alexei Kuznetsov, an aide to the Russian Health Minister, told state-owned Russian news agency RIA Novosti on 20 July.

"At present, clinical trials of two forms of the vaccine developed by the Gamaleya research centre are still continuing. Volunteers, officially included in the trials, have received it. The issue of its state registration will be addressed after the trials are completed," Kuznetsov added.

"It is speculation. The pre-clinical trials have not been conducted yet. There are rumours," the director of the Institute for Translational Medicine and Biotechnology of Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, where the vaccine has been tested, Vadim Tarasov, told the Russian news agency Interfax on 20 July, commenting on the Bloomberg report.

The Gamaleya epidemiology institute director, Alexander Ginzburg told Interfax that he "doesn't know anything about big or small [businessmen]", reportedly given access to the vaccine.

According to the Bloomberg report, top executives at Russian companies, as well as billionaire tycoons and government officials began getting the experimental vaccine in early April.

In his June interview to the Russian business daily RBC, the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Kirill Dmitriyev (Dmitriev) said that he was among volunteers who have tested the vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Institute.

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