10/15/2020, 16.11
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Moscow’s Catholic archbishop, Mgr Paolo Pezzi, comes down with COVID-19

by Vladimir Rozanskij

The prelate has been forced into self-isolation. Russia is currently reporting 13,000 to 15,000 new cases a day for a total of almost 1.5 million with about 25,000 deaths. Three vaccines are being tested with results expected in December.


Moscow (AsiaNews) – The Catholic Archbishop of the Mother of God in Moscow, Italian Paolo Pezzi, fell ill with COVID-19 and, like many members of the Orthodox clergy in the capital and the rest of the country, has been forced into self-isolation.

Speaking in a video, Archbishop Pezzi says that the unfortunate situation “is a chance to focus more deeply on the most important things, [. . .] convinced that this period, if it is given by God, will bear fruit for our whole Church, which is in great need of grace and unity.”

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has reared its ugly head again in Russia with 13,000 to 15,000 cases reported per day, affecting almost all regions of the country. Moscow alone is reporting 4,000 new cases a day. In the last 24 hours, 8,392 patients have recovered with 286 deaths. In all, Russia has reported almost 1.5 million cases with about 25,000 deaths.

Some hope comes from ongoing intense research into the coronavirus, with Russia trying to show the world its ability to react. Yesterday, President Vladimir Putin announced that a second vaccine, EpiVak-Korona, was approved. This first one, Sputnik V, was registered in September, so far with uncertain results. A third vaccine is also on its way.

Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said the clinical trials involve about a hundred volunteers. Unlike the first vaccine, which was a vector based on the adenovirus, the new one was created on the basis of very promising synthetic networks.

"It is a peptide vaccine, artificially created from short synthesised fragments of peptide proteins, thanks to which the immune system learns and becomes able to recognise and neutralise the virus,” Golikova explained.

This would give the new vaccine a much higher level of safety. In a short time, the first 60,000 doses will be distributed, for further testing on more than 40,000 volunteers, especially people over 65.

The testing of the third vaccine has also already passed the first stage, and the decisive one will begin next Monday on almost 300 volunteers, to reach the desired results by December.

President Putin explained that Russian vaccines will also be offered to other countries, provided that their companies produce and distribute it, in collaboration with Russian companies.

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