A Soviet-era biological weapons research plant is preparing to have a coronavirus vaccine ready by June.

Scientists are testing 13 potential vaccines for coronavirus on ferrets and “lower primates” like lemurs, a lorises, and galagos or bush babies in a bid to beat the disease.

The announcement comes at the same time as the UK announced is it developing its own vaccine against CIVOD-19, with human and animal trials set to begin next week at the Government’s secret science base Porton Down.

Scientists will test the drug, made at Oxford University, on animals at the Wiltshire base before trialling on humans next month. In recent years, this expertise has been successfully used in supporting the development of the Ebola vaccine, licensed in 2019.

Russian scientists are set to test samples from every one of the 253 cases confirmed in the country and then send them for analysis at the Vector State Research Centre of Virology and Biotechnology near Novosibirsk in Siberia.

Russian scientists are set to test samples from every one of the 253 cases confirmed in the country and then send them for analysis at the Vector State Research Centre of Virology and Biotechnology near Novosibirsk in Siberia
(Image: The Siberian Times)

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A total of 13 prototype vaccines have been developed at the centre with the aim of one or two being ready for use in June.

Russia’s figures are lower than any other large country – with only one death confirmed – prompting critics to accuse the government of covering up the actual numbers. The UK by contrast has 3,983 confirmed cases, with 177 deaths.

The deputy head scientist at Vector, Yelena Gavrilova, said: “Immediately after we got our hands on the living virus, we conducted studies on getting sensitive lab models, which turned out to be ferrets and lower primates.

Coronavirus: Soviet-era bio-weapons research plant 'will have vaccine by June' - World News 1

Tests will be carried out on animals, including galagos (file pic)
(Image: YouTube)

Coronavirus: Soviet-era bio-weapons research plant 'will have vaccine by June' - World News 2

A total of 13 prototype vaccines have been developed at the centre with the aim of one or two being ready for use in June
(Image: Medical unit No 163/The Siberian Times)

“Now that we have vaccine prototypes, we test them on the lab animals.”

She said: “We have both vaccines based on known recombinant viruses and synthetic vaccine, developed on six separate technological platforms.”

Heavily-guarded Vector, at Koltsovo in Siberia, was once a key facility in the secret and illegal Soviet biological weapons programme.

Coronavirus: Soviet-era bio-weapons research plant 'will have vaccine by June' - World News 3

Russia’s figures are lower than any other large country – with only one death confirmed – prompting critics to accuse the government of covering up the actual numbers. The UK by contrast has 3,983 confirmed cases, with 177 deaths
(Image: YouTube)

Coronavirus: Soviet-era bio-weapons research plant 'will have vaccine by June' - World News 4

Inside Vektor centre for virology in Novosibirsk
(Image: Medical unit No 163/The Siberian Times)

It produced smallpox on an industrial scale, while also weaponising deadly Marburg, after being set up in 1973 by USSR leader Leonid Brezhnev, say reports.

In recent years Vector has been involved in efforts to find cures and antidotes to killers such as bubonic plague, anthrax, ebola, hepatitis B, HIV, SARS – and cancer.

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Coronavirus outbreak

It remains one of only two depositories in the world permitted to hold stocks of smallpox for research purposes.

The other is in the USA.



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