Russia claims its “Sputnik V” vaccine is more than 90% effective against COVID-19

Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is more than 90 % effective in fighting the COVID-19; Reuters cited a Russian health representative on Monday 9 November.

According to Reuters, the Russian representative announced that this percentage is based on public vaccination data rather than from ongoing phase III trials of Sputnik V.

“We are responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of the Sputnik V vaccine among citizens who have received it as part of the mass vaccination program. Based on our observations, its effectiveness is also more than 90%,” said Oksana Drapkina, director of a research institute under the health ministry.

Russia also decided to launch the Sputnik V vaccine for domestic use without completing its stage III trials. Russia announced to test the vaccine on 40,000 people in Moscow during November as a phase III trial and publicize the testing results.

In this regard, Alexander Ginzburg, director of Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute who formulated the vaccine, said :

In the near future, we expect to publish interim results of the post-registration trial of the vaccine Sputnik V, the so-called Phase III trials. I am sure that its effectiveness level will also be high

A study published in Lancet in September also confirmed the vaccine’s effectiveness in provoking an immune response against Coronavirus. It also endorsed the Russian vaccine and claimed that the vaccine is safe to use. That study meant to access the effects of the vaccine on 76 individuals, specifically, through antibodies’ production and does not cause any harm.

Despite this, the swift Russian approach for vaccine development and distribution without thorough testing is facing severe criticism from many countries.

Health ministers of Germany and France also admonished Russia when Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that the vaccine was ready to roll out this summer before its large scale trials.

They are concerned that the vaccine may have grave outcomes if it is launched without enough testing. 

Despite severe criticism, Russia is destined towards initiating the phase 3 trials of Sputnik V in different countries, including UAE, India, Belarus, and Venezuela. Many countries, including Hungary, also showed interest in buying the Russian vaccine.

On the other hand, Russia also planned to initiate an awareness campaign on social media platforms to promote Sputnik V. According to Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), they are starting to aware people through the website, social media accounts, and hashtags to share “latest news on vaccine” and “personal experiences and thoughts” of vaccine users.

The Russian vaccine called Sputnik V was approved and registered by the Russian health ministry in September. Why the name Sputnik? Interestingly, there is a story behind this. It is Sputnik V, after the name of Sputnik, the world’s first satellite launched by the Soviet Union.

About its mechanism of action, Sputnik V is a vaccine employed for adenovirus, administered in the body in two doses. By using another virus as a vector that carries the DNA necessary to develop immunity against the COVID-19.

Currently, being useful in providing immunity against COVID-19 for two years.

According to the Russian health ministry, the vaccine will be available to the public in the coming days. The first batch of the ‘Gam-COVID-Vac’ (Sputnik V) vaccine was developed by the collaboration of Gamaleya National Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology and the Ministry of Health of Russia. 

According to the Russian health ministry:

“The vaccine has passed the necessary quality tests in the laboratories of Roszdravnadzor (medical device regulator). Plus, being released into civil circulation.”

The vaccine has already released for large-scale clinical trials involving thousands of individuals according to the Russian health ministry.

Although the Russian health ministry and the Lancet journal declared the vaccine safe. Scientists from the other counties and WHO are still concerned. Peter Drobac, an infectious disease medic at Oxford University, told Al Jazeera that:

“We have no idea that the claims made about the safety and immune response of this virus are true or not.”

The WHO said that it is looking forward to reviewing the clinical trials of the vaccine. Moreover, they hope to prevent the severe consequences of this vaccine. And unfortunately, nothing can be for certain in these difficult times.

We all hope that every Vaccine does what the authorities are telling us they will do. But nobody really knows if they can deliver what they promise