How does the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19 work?: Russia approved in August 2020 the first vaccine against the coronavirus Covid-19, created by the Gamaleya Institute based in Moscow, even before they began testing phase III. Although this fact generated controversy in Europe, the truth is that at the beginning of this month of March, the Committee for Human Medicines of the EMA (CHMP) has begun to review it to see if it authorizes it.
But what about the Russian vaccine, whose name intentionally invokes the space race of the 1950s? Gamaleya researchers used the common cold virus, opted for two different adenovirus vectors (rAd26 and rAd5) administered separately in a first and second dose, 21 days apart.
Using the same adenovirus for the two doses could cause the body to develop an immune response against the vector and destroy it when the second dose is administered. Two different vectors reduce the chance of this happening. As published in the BMJ, to make the vaccine, adenoviruses are combined with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which prompts the body to produce an immune response.
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Is the Russian Covid Vaccine Safe?
Results from phase I and II, in 76 participants from an open, non-randomized trial, were published in The Lancet in September. According to the document, all the participants developed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. Also, no serious side effects were detected and most were mild, such as arm pain.
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Interim phase III data was published in early February 2021. Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled included nearly 22,000 adults 18 years and older recruited through 25 hospitals and clinics in Moscow between September 7 and November 24, 2020. Each participant received either two doses of the vaccine, or a placebo, which were administered 21 days apart.
Interim results (based on data so far from 14,964 participants in the vaccine group and 4,902 in the placebo group) indicate that it is 91.6 per cent effective, based on its ability to prevent symptomatic infections. There were no cases of moderate or severe Covid-19 in the vaccinated group at least 21 days after the first dose. About 94 per cent of the reported side effects were very mild.
What Other Countries Vaccinate With Sputnik V?
Russia has gone to great lengths to promote Sputnik V beyond its borders, promising that it will cost less than $ 10 (8.4 euros) per dose for international buyers.
It also claims that it has signed contracts with more than a dozen manufacturers in ten countries to produce a total of 1.4 billion doses. At the time of writing this article, 29 countries plus Russia had approved the Sputnik V for emergency use. That includes Hungary, the only EU state to do so to date, although the EMA denied the reports at the time it was reviewing the vaccine.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, has publicly questioned why Russia is “theoretically offering millions and millions of doses without making enough progress in vaccinating its own people.” In fact, hundreds of thousands of doses have been shipped to various countries. In addition, the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca has launched a trial to be held in Russia to assess whether the combination of doses of their vaccine and Sputnik V can produce more benefits.
Stay tuned to peryourhealth.com for getting more updates.