COVID-19 pandemic to last for another year, MSU rector says

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ST.PETERSBURG, June 7. /TASS/. The COVID-19 pandemic may last for another year and vaccination will become a turning point in the fight against coronavirus, Rector of Moscow State University Viktor Sadovnichiy said in an interview with TASS on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

“It seems to me that vaccination will become a turning point. It will become massive but I don’t think that coronavirus will go away. We know that other infections rarely disappear. The goal of the world community is to make vaccination massive and control it. Most experts believe that the pandemic will last for one more year, and I agree with them,” Sadovnichiy said.

In the end, mankind could “limit and control” coronavirus “thanks to new medicines, vaccination and other opportunities,” the rector of the highest-ranking Russian educational institution noted.

New vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moscow State University, which is based on plant viruses, is now gearing up for preclinical trials, Sadovnichiy said. “As of today, the ability of the vaccine prototypes to simultaneously ensure protection from several coronaviruses has been proven. The prototypes have been characterized and accumulated in the amount, which is sufficient for conducting preclinical trials. The work is underway,” he said, giving no details on when the vaccine could be ready.

The new vaccine is based on the tobacco mosaic virus and entered the list of the World Health Organization’s promising vaccine candidates.

Vaccination of foreign students

The vaccination of foreign students coming to study in Russian universities is likely to improve the epidemiological situation in the country, according to Sadovnichiy.

“Moscow State University and the Russian Union of Rectors back the idea of providing access to vaccination for foreign students. This will in general improve the epidemiological situation in the country,” he stated.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the SPIEF plenary session on Friday that he had ordered the government to consider the possibility of arranging paid coronavirus vaccination for foreign nationals in Russia by late June.