YEREVAN — Armenia has reported 593 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total to 26,658. According to the data of the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 473 patients have recovered, bringing the total to 15,036.

Six patients have died in the past 24 hours. The death toll has reached 459, another 153 patients with coronavirus have died because of other diseases. The number of active cases is 11,010.

Minister of Health Arsen Torosyan told a cabinet meeting on Thursday that the rehabilitation units of Armenian hospitals are practically overloaded,.

“Of course, there are some 1-2 free beds in medical centers, and we manage to accommodate patients in serious or critical condition currently totaling 650,” the minister said, adding 44 patients are put on ventilators at present.

Torosyan informed that the Armenian government is negotiating with foreign corporations and international organizations in hopes of securing supplies of a potential coronavirus vaccine to Armenia beforehand.

“We are now holding negotiations in two directions,The first one is [drug] manufacturers. I am personally negotiating with them”.

“For example, yesterday I spoke with the commercial director of the [Massachusetts-based] Moderna company which is linked to our [Armenian-American] compatriot Noubar Afeyan. Their MRN 1723 vaccine … is one of the strongest vaccine candidates.”

“We are also negotiating with the World Health Organization and UNICEF platforms that will be trying to make collective purchases to ensure that there is a proportionate distribution of large doses [of the vaccine] among numerous countries,” added Torosyan.

Torosyan predicted that a much-anticipated COVID-19 vaccine may well be developed and be on the market before the end of this year.

“The biggest risk here is that some countries could buy large quantities of manufactured or even not yet manufactured vaccines which will consequently reach other countries much later … That is why it is very important to start negotiations now, even before having a [developed] end product,” explained the minister.

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