Aug. 1 (UPI) — Russia said Saturday that it has completed clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine and plans to run a mass vaccination campaign in October.
Tass, Russia’s national news agency, reported Saturday that officials plan to make the vaccine freely available to all.
“We plan that the coronavirus vaccination campaign will be totally covered from the budget. Accordingly, the vaccination scheme is known to all. It will be planned,” Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said at a news conference.
According to Murashko, the Moscow-based Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology has completed trials for the vaccine.
“We plan wider [vaccination] for October because we need to launch a new system of treatment gradually,” Murashko said.
On Friday Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States’ top expert on infectious diseases, testified before Congress that he is “cautiously optimistic” that a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine will be available before the end of the year.
In mid-July the British National Cyber Security Center said Russian computer hackers are targeting COVID-19 vaccine researchers in the United States, Britain and Canada in a bid to steal critical medical information.
The center also said the hackers are “almost certainly” associated with Russian government intelligence.
Russia has reported 845,443 confirmed coronavirus cases and 14,058 fatalities.