Russia announced this week that their Sputnik V vaccine is 91.6% effective against symptomatic Covid-19, and 100% effective against severe and moderate cases of the disease, according to an initial analysis of the vaccine’s Phase 3 trial data.
The data has been collected from 19,866 participants; three-quarters (14,964) of them received two doses of the vaccine while a quarter (4,902) of them received a placebo. 16 cases of symptomatic Covid-19 appeared in the vaccine group 21 days after the first dose of the vaccine had been distributed. 62 cases were found in the placebo group, which led to the 91.6% efficacy conclusion.
Serious adverse effects from the vaccine were rare, and none were considered to be directly caused by the vaccine and more so due to the individuals personal health. Pain at injection sites, flu-like symptoms, and low energy levels were among the most common side effects; much like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
The data analysis only accounts for symptomatic cases of Covid-19, and the authors concluded that more research would need to be done to see how the vaccine impacts asymptomatic Covid-19 transmission and how long protection may last. Dr. Inna V Dolzhikova was a co-author of the study who suggested that the vaccine has “a high efficacy, immunogenicity, and a good tolerability profile in participants aged 18 or older.”
Dolzhikova works at Russia’s Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology, which developed the Sputnik V Vaccine. The participants in the trial were given PCR Covid-19 tests when they received the second shot and were required to take another test if they reported any symptoms of respiratory infection.
“The Sputnik V vaccine is a two-dose adenoviral vector vaccine using two different adenoviruses for each dose, with doses administered 21 days apart. With this type of vaccine, an adenovirus is altered so that it can deliver a piece of genetic material from the virus that causes Covid-19 into the body and get cells to express the spike induced on the virus and induce an immune response. It’s an approach similar to the vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson,” according to new reports.
The authors say by using an adenoviral vaccine, recipients may have a more powerful immune response. The other advantage of these kinds of vaccines in general is that they don’t need to be stored at extremely cold temperatures for transport. Sputnik V can be kept in any basic refrigerator, and it only costs $10 per dose.
Dr. Julian Tang, a clinical virologist at the University of Leicester claimed that this news is “a useful addition to the published data on Covid-19 vaccine effectiveness, however, the median follow up was 48 days from the first dose, so the study cannot assess the full duration of protection yet.”
The vaccine is being funded by the Russian Direct Investment Fund which will also be responsible for selling it globally. So far the vaccine has been approved in Russia, Belarus, Serbia, Argentina, Bolivia, Algeria, Venezuela, Paraguay, Turkmenistan, Hungary, UAE, Iran, Guinea, Tunisia, Armenia and the Palestinian territories. The vaccine has already been administered to more than 2 million people worldwide.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.