Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca… and the Russian vaccine? Eight questions and answers about Sputnik VIt is registered in 15 countries and is more effective than AstraZeneca, but how does it work?
European Medicines Agency (EMA) has already approved three vaccines: Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca / Oxford University. Janssen’s could also be approved in the first quarter of 2021. Still, the vaccine shortage continues and Brussels is pushing to increase vaccine manufacturing capacity or to find new ones.
Despite the initial controversy, the use of the Russian vaccine is now being considered. It was the European regulator himself who admitted to being in contact with the producers of this vaccine that has even been registered in European countries like Serbia or Hungary. It is Sputnik V and was one of the first vaccines to be administered in the world. Is it safe and effective?
How does this vaccine work?
Sputnik V is a viral vector vaccine, that is, it uses other viruses that are rendered harmless to the human organism and adapted to fight Covid-19. It is the same technique used by the AstraZeneca vaccine, but the British vaccine is based on a single chimpanzee adenovirus, whereas the Russian vaccine uses two different human adenoviruses for each of the injections.
According to the creators of Sputnik V, the use of a different adenovirus to reinforce the first injection should cause a better immune response.
How effective is it?
Sputnik V is safe and 91.6% effective against Covid-19 after 21 days of taking it, according to the results of the third phase of clinical trials published in the scientific journal The Lancet.
It is important to note that the study participants were 18 or older, “about 60% men and almost all white” and about 25% had associated comorbidities. Still, at the age level, there was strong protection in all participating groups, according to the results.
How long does it take to take effect?
The Russian vaccine was developed to take two doses, but still, on average, the necessary immunity started on the 18th day after the first dose.
Has the European Union already requested authorization?
Russia asked the EMA to have the Sputnik V vaccine registered on 20 January. This is the first step so that the drug can be authorized in the European Union. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (FIDR), one of those responsible for the Russian vaccine against the new coronavirus, expects the process of reviewing the documentation and tests carried out to begin this month.
EMA announced at the end of last month that it was in contact with producers, but did not disclose further information.
In which countries are you already registered?
According to the official website of Sputnik V, the vaccine has already been registered in 15 countries, of which Hungary, Serbia, Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela, Paraguay, Algeria, Palestine, Belarus, Turkmenistan, and Russia itself.
How many people have already had this vaccine?
According to the report published in The Lancet, 14,964 people took the vaccine in the clinical trial. To this figure are added 1.5 million vaccinated Russians (about 1% of the population), according to information released on the social network Twitter.
Over 1.5 million people have already been vaccinated with Sputnik V as part of the mass scale vaccination in Russia.
Watch this video to find out how #SputnikV works and why it’s effective. pic.twitter.com/oNJ1pA5QS4
— Sputnik V (@sputnikvaccine) January 11, 2021
However, according to experts heard by The Moscow Times, the Russian government may be overestimating the number of people it vaccinated by five times.
Is it better than vaccines already approved by the EMA?
With regard to effectiveness, the vaccine developed in Russia is less effective than the vaccines of Pfizer (95%) and Moderna (94%), but more than the vaccine of AstraZeneca (70%).
This vaccine must still be stored at minus 18 degrees. This is an advantage over the drug developed by Pfizer, but a disadvantage over that of AstraZeneca that can be stored at temperatures similar to those of an ordinary refrigerator. As for Moderna’s vaccine, storage is very similar, as this should be kept at minus 20 degrees.
What is the price?
According to the information available on the official website, the price must not exceed 10 dollars (about 8.3 euros). However, the concrete price of each country will be determined by several factors.