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From the transcript:

Meeting with Head of the Federal Biomedical Agency Veronika Skvortsova

Mikhail Mishustin: Dear Veronika Igorevna, it has been almost a year since you have headed the Federal Medical and Biological Agency. It was headed at a difficult time when the coronavirus infection began. I know that the agency is working practically around the clock on all components of the fight against coronavirus. More than 1.5 million tests have been performed, and all the means to improve immunity and fight against coronavirus are also being actively developed.

What is very important, you are also involved in the collection of blood and blood plasma, including anticoid. Despite all the difficulties and difficult situation, all federal medical institutions are provided with blood components. A whole range of other work is underway in the departments of the agency you lead. I would like you to tell us more about this work.

Valentina Skvortsova: Thank you very much, Mikhail Vladimirovich.

The Federal Biomedical Agency is responsible for preserving the health, primarily of those working in production with especially hazardous working conditions. They are employees of more than 700 organizations and corporations – Rosatom, Roskosmos, the chemical, defense industry, institutions that contain museum collections of biopathogen strains. And the population living in the special territories of our country: 20 closed administrative territories, 39 satellite cities and science cities. In this difficult situation with the spread of a new coronavirus infection, it was of fundamental importance for us, first of all, to ensure the safety of the population of these territories, to preserve their health and to ensure the uninterrupted operation of all strategically important facilities that are of critical importance for our country.

We applied a whole range of anti-epidemic measures, the basis of which was the earliest and most complete detection of all cases of infection. This allowed us to minimize mortality in the territories for which we are responsible. Mortality from coronavirus infection there is one of the lowest in the world and in the country – 0.8%.

The second direction is, of course, medical assistance to our population, which lives in the regions of the country where the territories served by FMBA are located, and wider.

For three months, FMBA institutions have provided assistance to more than 17 constituent entities of the Russian Federation. FMBA has deployed 51 hospitals with more than 5.5 thousand beds. We have organized a network of reference centers. More than 4 thousand telemedicine consultations have been carried out. More than 800 patients with covid have been evacuated, of which more than 200 have been evacuated by ambulance. And most importantly, we have organized rapid response teams – combined FMBA units, which move out within 24 hours from the moment of the signal and include methodologists, epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists, pulmonologists, resuscitators.

A separate topic is, of course, support for the donor movement and the preservation of the volume of whole blood and blood components during such a difficult period as a pandemic. It must be said that in most countries of the world the number of donors has dropped sharply due to quarantine and isolation measures. Together with the All-Russian Popular Front, we managed to organize a series of forums in support of donation and attract about 175 thousand additional donors during the pandemic. The total number of donations has slightly decreased, but at the same time, the amount of plasma and platelet components provided to medical organizations of any form of ownership not only did not decrease, but also increased compared to 2019.

And, as you have already noted, since April we have created a methodology for the preparation of anticoid plasma. We have made a single center for Russia, coordinating the preparation of antique plasma. And now 58 regions are already participating in this process on the basis of a single methodology. 86 blood transfusion stations collect antiquated plasma. We have prepared 13.5 thousand tons.

Since March, we have started to create diagnostic test systems. To date, the agency has created three registered test systems for PCR diagnostics.

In addition, the agency has developed and patented two drugs. Both are unique, unparalleled in the world. The drug that I would like to talk about is the first etiotropic drug that directly affects the virus. In fact, it is an antidote for coronavirus infection.

Preclinical studies have been completed, which showed, first, the complete safety of this drug due to the fact that it does not affect the body and human immunity. On the other hand, it has a high efficiency exceeding 99%.

Currently, a dossier has been prepared for obtaining approval for clinical trials. We hope to have time to do this before the new year. In the event that clinical studies confirm the effectiveness of this drug, it will be the first safe, effective, direct-acting antiviral drug that has no analogues in the world.

And the second drug is a drug that prevents or inhibits the cytokine reaction in the most complex forms of coronavirus infection. This drug has already undergone clinical trials. Currently – the last stage of its registration.

I would also like to report on the work that we are doing to develop vaccines.

Currently, we are developing a recombinant vaccine, the action of which is realized not through antibody production, predominantly, but through cellular immunity. During the preclinical research phase, we received an efficiently working formulation. For us now is the most crucial period.

Mikhail Mishustin: Thank you.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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