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Russia's Sputnik V vaccine appears safe, effective

Russia's Sputnik V vaccine appears safe, effective

The Sputnik V vaccine was given a green light on Tuesday by scientists in Russian Federation after its scientists said it was found to be 92% effective based on peer-reviewed late-stage trial results.

The study included more than 2,100 people over 60, and the vaccine appeared to be about 92% effective in them.

The latest study is based on research involving about 20,000 people over 18 at 25 hospitals in Moscow between September and November, of whom three-quarters got two doses of the Russian vaccine 21 days apart and the remainder got placebo shots.

There were also no adverse reactions associated with the vaccine, while mild symptoms were found, including pain at the injection site, flu-like symptoms, and low energy levels.

The trial is now ongoing and aims to include a total of 40,000 participants.

"Another vaccine can now join the fight to reduce the incidence of COVID-19", they said. More research is needed to assess efficacy for cases without symptoms, the study concluded. Serious side effects were rare in both groups, and four deaths were reported in the study, but none was considered to be the result of the vaccine.

Argentina's newly designated ambassador to Russia, Eduardo Zuain, said Monday that his diplomatic mission had "the primary objective of guaranteeing the provision of the vaccine" and confirmed that the Alberto Fernández administration would look to secure a deal with Russian officials and the Gamaleya laboratory that produces the vaccine.

But the Russian vaccine has been treated with suspicion due to a lack of publicly available scientific data.

The Gam-Covid-Vac, called Sputnik V, is a two-part vaccine that includes two adenovirus vectors - recombinant human adenovirus type 26 (rAd26-S) and recombinant human adenovirus type 5 (rAd5-S).

The following month British spies accused the Kremlin of launching a cyber attack on Oxford University scientists who developed an nearly identical vaccine, raising fears Moscow was stealing research from the UK.

Worldwide, 64 candidate Covid-19 vaccines are now in clinical assessment, including 13 vaccine candidates at phase 3 and 173 vaccines are in preclinical analyses.

People line up to get a shot of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in a vaccination center in Moscow, Russia, Jan. 20, 2021.

The vaccine has the advantage of being able to be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures instead of the conditions far below freezing required for some other vaccines.

"There are no arguments left for critics of this vaccine, the article in The Lancet is a checkmate", said Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which was part of Sputnik V's development.

"This is a useful addition to the published data on Covid-19 vaccine effectiveness", Dr. They noted that since median follow up was 48 days from the first dose, so the study can not assess the full duration of protection.

Sputnik V has so far been administered to more than 2 million people worldwide.

The Russian vaccine uses a modified version of the common cold-causing adenovirus to carry genes for the spike protein in the coronavirus as a way to prime the body to react if COVID-19 comes along.

Sputnik V has been approved in more than 15 countries, including ex-Soviet nations like Belarus and Armenia, allies like Venezuela and Iran, but also South Korea, Argentina, Algeria, Tunisia and Pakistan.

"Our interim analysis of the randomised, controlled, phase 3 trial of Gam-COVID-Vac in Russian Federation has shown high efficacy, immunogenicity, and a good tolerability profile in participants aged 18 years or older", Inna V Dolzhikova, co-lead author, Gamaleya national research centre for epidemiology and microbiology in Russian Federation, said.

"So we should be more careful about being overly critical about other countries' vaccine designs/ programs", he said.