Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine has 91.6 percent efficacy against Covid-19, interim phase 3 trial results indicate.
Anyone with even the vaguest memory of Russia's shenanigans with drugs at international athletic events will have cause to doubt any drug related claims made by them. However, the performance of their Sputnik V vaccine (the 'V' references 'victory', not 5) - tested on more than 20,000 people - has been given a proper review by respected international counterparts, such as The Lancet.
This is the fourth vaccine - after from those made by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca/Oxford - for which phase 3 trial data has been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
The vaccine, which is backed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund, is administered in two injections 21 days apart. In the 21 days after the first dose, there were 16 cases of Covid-19 in the 14,964 people (0.1%) in the vaccine group, and 62 cases of the disease in the 4,902 individuals (1.3%) in the placebo group.
The trial included 2,144 participants aged 60 and older; in this subset the vaccine had 91.8 percent efficacy against symptomatic disease.
“This recent positive phase 3 trial … is highly encouraging in terms of efficacy, a lack of serious side effects and seemingly equivalent protection in older patients,” said Dr Stephen Griffin, associate professor in the school of medicine at the University of Leeds.
Similar to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, Sputnik V is based on a modified version of adenovirus, a common cold virus. This is tailored to carry genetic instructions for making the coronavirus spike protein, which it passes to human cells. The manufactured coronavirus spike protein then triggers an immune response to protect against Covid-19.
This is clearly great news for Russians. There is no indication yet that Europe or USA will be placing orders. However, Sputnik V has been given regulatory approval in 16 countries so far.
It isn’t often that the UK Health Secretary gets to report good news. So, at his Downing Street press conference on Monday, he seized the opportunity like a child spotting a sweet whilst no adults were looking. You could hardly blame him. The numbers were astonishing. More...