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Top UK medical journal okays Russia’s Sputnik V Covid vaccine

Sputnik V vaccine is 91.6% effective in combating Covid-19, according to The Lancet

Scientists gave the go-ahead for Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine on Tuesday as a peer-reviewed late-stage trial results published in The Lancet international medical journal stated that it had proved to be 91.6%  effective in combating Covid-19.

The approval by top scientists will give the world another vaccine to fight the dreaded coronavirus at a time when the there is an acute shortage and Covid cases are on the rise in most countries.

The Sputnik V vaccine is also undergoing phase III trials in India and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories has a collaboration with the Russians to produce and distribute the product.

The Lancet stated that the results, collated by the Gamaleya Institute in Moscow that developed and tested the vaccine, were in line with efficacy data reported at earlier stages of the trial, which is being carried out in Moscow since September.

“The development of the Sputnik V vaccine has been criticised for unseemly haste, corner cutting, and an absence of transparency,” said Ian Jones, professor at the University of Reading, and Polly Roy, professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

“But the outcome reported here is clear and the scientific principle of vaccination is demonstrated,” the scientists, who were not involved in the study, said in a comment shared by The Lancet. “Another vaccine can now join the fight to reduce the incidence of COVID-19.”

The results were based on data from 19,866 volunteers, of whom a quarter received a placebo, the researchers, led by the Gamaleya Institute’s Denis Logunov, The Lancet study states.

Russia is already using vaccine

Russia had approved the vaccine in August, before the large-scale trial had begun, saying it was the first country to do so for a Covid-19 shot. Some frontline health workers began receiving it soon after. In January, the vaccine was offered to all Russians.

“Russia was right all along,” Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is responsible for marketing the vaccine abroad, told journalists on Tuesday.

He said the results supported Russia’s decision to begin administering Sputnik V to frontline workers while the trial was still underway, and suggested scepticism of such moves was politically motivated.

“The Lancet did very unbiased work despite some of the political pressures that may have been out there,” he added.