Health

Coronavirus update: Scientists criticise Russia’s vaccine announcement

The ‘Sputnik V’ vaccine has not undergone large trials to test its safety and efficacy, warn scientists

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Wednesday 12 August 2020

The August 11, 2020 announcement of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by Russian President Vladimir Putin was criticised by scientists as dangerously rushed.

  • The vaccine, named ‘Sputnik V’, has not yet undergone large trials to test its safety and efficacy, warned scientists, according to a report in journal Nature.
  • Rolling out such a vaccine could put people who receive it at risk, according to researchers.
  • “That the Russians may be skipping such measures and steps is what worries our community of vaccine scientists. If they get it wrong it could undermine the entire global enterprise,” Peter Hotez, a vaccine scientist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, was quoted as saying by Nature.
  • Putin, in his announcement, said the Russian regulator approved the vaccine — developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow — even though third phase clinical trials were yet to be completed.
  • The vaccine was given to 76 volunteers as part of two early-stage trials listed on ClinicalTrials.gov, with no results from the trials or other preclinical studies published, reported Nature.
  • The vaccine is given in two doses made of adenoviruses. The first dose comprises the Ad26 virus — a strain being used for an experimental vaccine being developed by Johnson and Johnson Services Inc.
  • The second ‘booster’ dose comprises an Ad5 virus, being used in another experimental vaccine being developed in China.
  • India added 61,252 COVID-19 cases August 12, taking the total number of cases to 2,334,279, according to private tracker covid19india.org.
  • The total number of those who recovered was 1,641,484, while the total number of deaths from the disease were 46,230.

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