After Pfizer, Russia’s Sputnik V claims 92% vaccine efficiency

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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The maker of Russia’s flagship COVID-19 vaccine said it shows a 92% efficacy rate in infection prevention, as the country is pushing for a top spot in the battle against coronavirus after a similar breakthrough was announced by a rival product by Pfizer Inc.

The preliminary findings of Phase 3 are based on the results of 20,000 volunteers who were given the first dose, including more than 16,000 who have received a second injection, the developers Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology and the Russian Direct Investment Fund announced in a statement on Twitter.

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The data is based on outcomes 21 days after the initial injection and will, according to the release, be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. The efficacy rate of 92 percent was based on 20 reported cases of COVID-19 divided between vaccinated subjects who received two doses and those who received placebo. There have been no unexpected adverse events reported and monitoring is ongoing, the backers said. A total of 40,000 subjects are to be included in the trial, but not all have been vaccinated yet.

Outside the trial, the shots were also given to health workers, teachers and officials, with preliminary observations showing over 90 percent efficacy, the Health Ministry said hours after this week’s announcement by Pfizer.

Russia, which registered Sputnik V in August, was the first in the world to do so. But it has faced criticism from scientists and pharmaceutical companies who say that further research is required to show that the vaccine is safe and successful.

Pfizer’s vaccine candidate, developed with BioNTech SE, is at least 90 percent effective, according to an interim analysis published this week in what was hailed as the most encouraging scientific evidence supporting an inoculation to date.

Russia is also aiming to win a share of the global demand for a weapon to control the pandemic that has led to the death of more than 1.2 million people around the globe. Russia has the world’s fifth-largest number of COVID-19 cases.

Sputnik V has faced difficulties ramping up production after it was approved for use as other vaccines worldwide prepare for widespread roll-out.

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