Joining the roster of media releases which announce positive results of COVID-19 vaccine trials, developers of the Russian vaccine, Sputnik V reported a 91.4-percent effectiveness from a second interim evaluation of over 18,000 people, strengthening a claim the team made on November 11 with limited evidence.

However, the preliminary report rested on mere 20 COVID-19 cases, without details on how they were split between placebo and vaccinated groups; this new analysis is based on 39 cases in all, eight among individuals from the vaccinated group against 31 in the much smaller placebo group.

During a Virtual media conference yesterday morning, Russian Direct Investment Fund's CEO Kirill Dmitriev announced, "This is great news not just for Russia, but the world."

Reports on this new development on COVID-19 vaccines said, the Sputnik V vaccine, which Moscow-based Gamaleya Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology made, uses Ad or adenovirus "vectors" for the delivery of gene that codes for the "surface of protein, spike, of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19."

Adenovirus Vaccines

The double-dose scheme starts with an Ad26-spike vaccine, then followed by a booster shot after 21 days that contains Ad5 spike.

Specifically, Gamaleya selected two different adenoviruses due to the concern that immune reactions to the same vector could reduce the booster shot's impact.

Meanwhile, another adenovirus vaccine, which the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca developed, reported yesterday, efficacy data of 70 percent.

The said vaccine uses a similar adenovirus vector for both the booster and prime shot. At the moment, said University of Reading virologist Ian Jones, the data announced today "on the Sputnik vaccine looks to be the best" in the area of adeno-vectored vaccines.

CanSino Biologics, a Chinese company, and Johnson & Johnson, a pharmaceutical giant, both have adenoviruses, too, in efficacy tests against COVID-19.

Reduced Concerns

This latest report reduced concerns raised by a lot of vaccine researchers and public health experts when the team behind the Sputnik V vaccine made the earlier effectiveness claims, said Jones. He added, he thinks the figures are now significant, "and I think they do give credence to what they say.

Meanwhile, according to Dmitriev, researchers are planning to publish trial results in an international peer-reviewed journal.

Gamaleya Center's deputy director, Denis Logunov, noted that even though side effects like pain at the injected area, headache, and fever had been observed, no severe negative occurrences had appeared.

One benefit the adenovirus vaccines can provide is that they can be stored in standard or regular refrigerators, instead of needing freezers.

University of Cambridge virologist Charlotte Houldcroft warned, though, that the latest announcement from the Russian vaccine developer is yet another incidence of "science by press release." However, she added, if the numbers are good as they seem, that is indeed promising as these need a regular cold chain to be rolled out instead of an "ultracold chain" such as the RNA vaccines, and that's a huge advantage.

Science Times - Russian Institute Announces 91.4-Percent Efficacy of its Sputnik V Vaccine
(Photo : Gerd Altmann on Pixabay)
Russian vaccine, Sputnik V reported yesterday, 91.4-percent effectiveness from a second interim analysis of over 18,000 people, strengthening a claim the team made on November 11 with limited evidence.
What Lies Ahead

Researcher at the Russian Academy of Medical Science's Chumakov Institute of Poliomyelitis and Viral Encephalitides in Moscow, Alexey Chumokov said, one thing "seems clear, that this platform" is effective.

Of course, Chumocov wrote in an email, with any vaccine. Specifically, with the ones that have such a promise for future revenue flow and political effect, one needs to be careful in any type of announcement, "only time and testing will tell."

Dmitriev said, partners in South Korea, Brazil, China, and India are currently producing the vaccine, which could cost below $10 per shot.

Present agreements would allow for the manufacturing of one billion doses next year, with the first doses to be delivered globally in January.

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