The vaccine against covid-19 developed by Russia – Sputnik V – revealed a 91.6% effectiveness against the disease, according to results published this Tuesday in the medical journal The Lancet and validated by independent experts.
“The development of Sputnik V has been criticized for its haste, skipped steps and lack of transparency, but the results are clear and the scientific principle of this vaccination is demonstrated, ”estimated two British experts, Ian Jones and Polly Roy, in a commentary attached to the study.
The researchers indicate that this “means that an extra vaccine can be added to the fight against covid-19“. Neither of the two scientists participated in the study in question.
The first verified efficacy results corroborate Russia’s initial statements, received in the autumn with suspicion by the international scientific community.
The study released today puts the Sputnik V among the best performing vaccines, such as those by Pfizer / BioNTech, which advertise about 95% efficiency but nevertheless use a different technology (messenger RNA).
In the past few weeks, pressures have started to emerge for the European Medicines Agency to quickly assess the performance of Sputnik V, already used in Russia and in countries like Argentina and Algeria.
The results now published in the The Lancet relate to the last phase of clinical trials of the vaccine, phase three, which involves about 20,000 volunteers.
These results come from the team that developed the vaccine and conducted the trials, and were subsequently checked by other independent scientists before its publication.
The findings suggest that the Sputnik V reduces risk by 91.6% to contract a symptomatic form of covid-19.
Participants in the trial, conducted between September and November, all received two doses of the vaccine or a placebo three weeks apart.
In each dose, they also underwent a CRP test and, in the days following the administration of the second dose, the test was performed only on people who developed symptoms.
A total of 16 volunteers out of 14,900 who received both doses of the vaccine tested positive (0.1%) compared with 62 out of 4,900 volunteers who received placebo (1.3%).
However, the authors point out a limitation: since the PCR tests were only carried out “when the participants declared to have symptoms of covid-19, the analysis of efficacy concerns only symptomatic cases”.
According to the scientific journal “More research is still needed to determine the effectiveness of the vaccine in asymptomatic cases and in transmission ”of the disease.
Sputnik V from Russia is a viral vector vaccine, that is, it uses other viruses that are rendered harmless to the human organism and adapted to fight covid-19.
This is the same technique used by the AstraZeneca vaccine (Oxford), which is 60% effective, according to the EMA. While the AstraZeneca vaccine is based on a single chimpanzee adenovirus, Sputnik V uses two human adenoviruses different for each of the injections.
According to its creators, the use of a different adenovirus to reinforce the first injection should cause a better immune response.
Yesterday, even before this study was published, the President of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, defended the use of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V against covid-19 to compensate for delays in the deliveries of the American pharmaceuticals Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.