The President was updated on the main areas of the Agency’s activities, including continued efforts against the spread of COVID-19, such as the creation of the AmpliTest diagnostic test kit, the Mir-19 antiviral medication and the Convasel vaccine against the coronavirus.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.
Head of the Federal Medical-Biological Agency Veronika Skvortsova: Good afternoon, Mr President.
Our task was to create a new antiviral triad: a test system, an antiviral medication and a vaccine against the coronavirus.
Since March 2020, we have created a series of high-precision and high-sensitivity AmpliTest kits. We started by creating test kits for the SARS-Cov-2 virus and then proceeded to create the AmpliTest system to detect, differentiate and identify its new strains. In particular, we created test kits for the Alpha, Beta and Gamma strains in March 2021 and for Delta and Delta Plus in July 2021. In early December, we created an AmpliTest kit, which can be used to detect three variants of the Omicron strain.
This is important because it helps us to evaluate the epidemiological situation, forecast its future course with due regard to the fundamentally different properties of the Omicron and Delta strains, and to make the necessary calculations for our medical organisations.
In December, we registered a medicine, Mir, the world’s first medication based on viral interference. It is a precision gene engineering preparation that switches off one of the sites of the SARS-CoV-2 virus genome, the most conservative one that does not change in all known lines.
Vladimir Putin: Is it for treatment?
Veronika Skvortsova: Yes, for treatment. Actually, it is an antidote, because it can reduce the viral load by 10,000 times and does not affect the human genome in the process. It is a highly secure medication that is not toxic to humans. But at the same time it works after the first inhalation. When inhaled, dendrimeric peptide in the preparation targets the delivery of the active ingredient to the upper and lower respiratory tracts.
The medication was registered in December, in the first instance, for moderately and seriously ill inpatients. Currently, research is being conducted at the outpatient level in order to use the medication whenever a patient tests positive for COVID-19. It is most effective at this stage. Experience shows that three inhalations per day for five days is enough to turn a positive PCR test into a negative one.
The medication was devised by the Institute of Immunology.
Vladimir Putin: In St Petersburg?
Veronika Skvortsova: … In Moscow, but it is produced by the St Petersburg Research Institute of Vaccines and Serums at its facilities.
Yet another medication, Leitragin, which we registered last year, also switches off one of the sites of the SARS-CoV-2 virus genome. But it is a pathogenic rather than an aetiotropic antiviral medication, which makes it possible to fully prevent the development of cytokine storm in moderately ill patients. It is also an inhaled medicine.
We have 35 research centres, all of which are working hard.
This is all we can report for now, but we have a lot of interesting R&D options under way.
Vladimir Putin: I see. And what about this?
Veronika Skvortsova: This is AmpliTest, as I said, a testing of Omicron and it variants. And Delta, separately.
Vladimir Putin: I see.
Veronika Skvortsova: It is produced by the Centre for Strategic Planning, also the FMBA’s research centre.
Vladimir Putin: All right. Thank you very much.