At least in the West, considerable skepticism followed the subject of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine among those that follow clinical research. TrialSite expressed ongoing concern about the practices and ethics underlying the research associated with this vaccine candidate—with shortcuts and truly questionable study conduct in the form of human jabs during preclinical stages and condensed studies measured in weeks, not even months. How could such practices lead to a good outcome? Perhaps the makers at Gamaleya Institute knew something others didn’t. This week the Sputnik V vaccine gained further credibility around the world after The Lancet medical journal published results of the vaccine’s 92% efficacy rate against COVID-19. Although the Sputnik V vaccine has previously been criticized for lack of transparency in the trial studies, this new information could pave the path to reducing global vaccine shortages. Sputnik V is the fourth coronavirus vaccine developer to publish phase 3 results in a peer-reviewed journal. This publication puts Russia ahead of both of China’s vaccine trial organizations, including Sinopharm and Sinovac. As TrialSite reveals in another story today, the Russia Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the Russia sovereign wealth fund, now leads a flurry of announcements where Sputnik V is now authorized for COVID-19 inoculations.
Kirill Dmitriev, head of the RDIF, responsible for marketing Sputnik V abroad, reported that 15 countries had approved Sputnik V for use. The group will soon be submitting an application for approval in the European Union. Countries that have made deals for doses of Sputnik V include Argentina, Bolivia, Serbia and Brazil.
Unable to meet the vaccine demand on its own, Russia has made deals with production facilities in Brazil, India, China and South Korea to meet the global need for the vaccine, says Danil Bochkov, a Moscow-based expert at the Russian International Affairs Council.
If effective in meeting production needs, Sputnik V represents the first step in reducing the global COVID-19 vaccine shortages at least according to various recent press releases and articles.