Vladimir Putin oversees first-ever cervical cancer vaccine trial in Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday oversaw the country’s first-ever clinical trial of an experimental intranasal vaccine against cervical cancer, a major cause of death among women in Russia. According to reports, the trial involved a “selection of 30 healthy women with a ‘natural cycle’ of monthly menstruation who received 4 dose sessions” throughout the course of nine months.

The vaccine had been created using the Immunofluenza virus, which can be grown in a petri dish. According to a report by The Daily Beast, the technology is similar to the way “genetically-modified meats, vegetables, and spices are grown in laboratory dishes.”

“The results will be presented in the laboratory in June, and at the International Conference on Prevention of and Treatment of Cervical Cancer in Doha in October,” Sergei Pavlov, the deputy head of Russia’s Center for Clinical Studies, was quoted as saying in a report by RIA Novosti.

The development of the vaccine took more than five years, with Pavlov pushing the notion that the non-nontoxic vaccine would be particularly useful for Russia, due to a restrictive ban on vaccines for girls. In 2007, a Russian court ruled that a vaccine available in Western countries, Gardasil, be used only to vaccinate girls up to the age of nine in Russia, ruling that older children should have to rely on traditional vaccines like DTaP and DTaP-C, provided by local health facilities. According to Reuters, vaccines for older girls are still not allowed, despite widespread use in Western countries, because of a law passed in 1999 that rules out using vaccines on children under the age of 6.

Still, not everyone was enthusiastic about the development of the vaccine. Ksenia Tikhonova, who was a gymnast in the Soviet Union, later became Putin’s spokeswoman and stayed with him through the presidential elections in 2012, told Reuters that she was concerned about potential side effects of the vaccine.

“I wasn’t a big believer in (antibiotics), but I can understand the position of those who want (protection),” Tikhonova said. “From a non-medical point of view it’s not worth it.”

The purpose of the trial, which will end in June, has not been released.

Read the full story at The Daily Beast.


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