Russia's first Coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, developed by Moscow's Gamaleya institute has already created a buzz around the world, but mostly out of concerns as many researchers raised questions on its effectiveness due to lack of data. Now, the country is once again preparing to approve another COVID-19 vaccine in late September or early October.
After Russia granted regulatory approval for Sputnik V after less than two months of human trial, on Wednesday, August 26 country's Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said Russia is now preparing to approve its second vaccine against the novel Coronavirus caused disease COVID-19. This vaccine is developed by the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR in Siberia.
Another Russian Vaccine
During a televised government meeting, Golikova told President Vladimir Putin that early-stage clinical trials on the vaccine are expected to be completed by the end of September. She also told Putin that as of Wednesday, there has been no complications found among those people who were vaccinated in the first and second stage of human trial.
Sputnik V vaccine was announced as a safe and effective candidate to fight against the novel Coronavirus by Russian authorities earlier. But many experts have claimed that without any data from the Gamaleya institute on the Sputnik V human trials, it is difficult to believe in its efficacy.
On Wednesday, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is Russia's sovereign wealth fund established in 2011, said the final phase of clinical trials on Sputnik V was beginning. It also claimed that 40,000 Russian citizens would take part in the final trials of the vaccine and that similar trials would also be carried out in five separate countries. The Moscow mayor, Sergei Sobyanin said that the residents of the Russian capital could apply to take part in the trials.
Something Is Better Than Nothing
While announcing the successful development of an effective vaccine—Sputnik V—against SARS-CoV-2, Putin said, "I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks." But like many experts who expressed their doubts about Sputnik V, Scott Gottlieb, a former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner (FDA) warned people about Kremlin's claims and said, "I wouldn't take it, certainly not outside of a clinical trial right now."
Even Daniel Salmon, the director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins University, said, "I think it's really scary. It's really risky." Natalie Dean, who is a biostatistician and infectious disease expert at the University of Florida, earlier warned against rushing the vaccine-approval process. After the announcement by Russia about Sputnik V, she said the timing of this announcement makes it "very unlikely that they have sufficient data about the efficacy of the product."
Amid concerns among the researchers, some countries have shown their interest in Sputnik V. Recently, reports revealed that Kazakhstan has signed a deal to get supplies of Russia's first potential Coronavirus vaccine after the completion of clinical trials.
Meanwhile, India Health Ministry said that country is in talks with the Russian authorities about Sputnik V. As per reports, Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Union Health Ministry said, "As far as Sputnik-5 vaccine is concerned, India and Russia are in communication. Some initial information has been shared."