The Russian vaccine Sputnik V has already fueled controversies around the world after President Vladimir Putin claimed that "it works quite effectively,"—without providing any details on the study. But now, the country's health minister said that one in seven volunteers who were part of the vaccine trial showed side effects.
Russian health minister Mikhail Murashko said that as of now, over 300 out of the announced 40,000 volunteers have been vaccinated with Sputnik V. He added that around 14 percent have complained about weakness, muscle pain for 24 hours, and an occasional increase in body temperature.
The Sputnik V Is Not Perfect
When Russia approved its potential Coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V in August, several experts raised concerns about the effectiveness of the vaccine due to lack of evidence. But a recently published report in The Lancet claimed that patients involved in early trials of the COVID-19 vaccine developed antibodies with "no serious adverse events."
As reported, Murashko said that the symptoms after being injected with the Russian COVID-19 vaccine "level off" by the next day and the complications are "described in the instructions and are predictable." The participants of the trial are expected to receive another shot of the adenovirus-based viral vector vaccine within 21 days of the first.
Russia's Sputnik V has long way to complete a large-scale clinical trial to prove its effectiveness. But the Russian government has approved the vaccine which made it the first vaccine to be cleared from human use anywhere in the world. Earlier in September, the final trial of the controversial vaccine started in Moscow. However, scientists and healthcare experts cautioned against the use of Sputnik V which has not passed full safety and efficacy checks.
According to Lancet report, in phases one and two trails, the vaccine did not lead to side effects in 76 volunteers. But some scientists disagreed with that result and urged for the data review.
Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) recently stated that the vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, is safe and it is undergoing clinical trials for the Coronavirus pandemic.
Professor Sergey Tsarenko, Deputy Chief Physician for Anesthesiology and Reanimation at Hospital No. 52 in Moscow, said that the main criteria for evaluating a vaccine are efficacy and safety. According to him in terms of Sputnik V, safety is ensured by the use of human adenoviral vectors, "which we repeatedly encounter throughout our lives...[and] efficacy is achieved by using two different human adenoviruses sequentially, which differentiates this platform."
What About Another Russian Vaccine?
As per recent reports, the second Russian vaccine for the deadly disease created by the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology 'Vector' gives immunity against the virus for at least six months. The chief of the center's zoonotic infections and influenza section, Alexander Ryzhikov said, "The vaccine is built in such a way that it has no restrictions on repeat vaccination. It does not create lifelong immunity, which is good. It forms a targeted immune response, and there is no need to worry about the long-term effects of re-vaccination."
He also said during a live feed on social media platform Instagram organized by the Russian consumer rights watchdog that immunity formed by the second vaccine developed in Russia, "is enough for at least six months. In the future, re-vaccination is possible, the vaccine's contents do not contradict that."