Russia drew some controversy early August when it announced that its developed vaccine was already approved and ready for public use despite not having passed it’s Phase 3 trials, but a recent study shows some progress to this.
Almost a month after this news, the government announced that it has been conducting tests and generating results.
From the data published by the medical journal The Lancet, it revealed that these trials are now yielding neutralized antibodies in dozens of study subjects. However, some mild side effects, such as fever, are expected to be observed.
During Phase 1 and 2 studies of the vaccine, all 76 study participants developed antibodies to the virus that causes Covid-19. The phases were called Sputnik V.
As well, the researchers delved on the activity from T cells, another component of the immune system.
They added that “[Outcomes from] the trial also suggest the vaccines also produce a T cell response within 28 days.”
While the results are showing some positive signs, there are still more results to be confirmed to prove if it is effective or not.
The professor of microbial pathogenesis, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Brendan Wren said that the “data on the Russian vaccine studies reported in The Lancet are encouraging.”
“Using two different viruses gives a theoretical advantage,” quipped Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccinologist at the University of Pennsylvania.
Apart from this, Dmitriev, CEO of the RDIF, said that the trial results confirm the “high safety and efficacy,” adding in a statement Friday that the results are “a powerful response to skeptics who unreasonably criticized the Russian vaccine.”
Moreover, the study revealed that half of the participants experienced fevers, and 42% developed headaches. In comparison, 28% experienced weakness, and 24% had joint pain.
After the announcement of having vaccines in August, the researchers at the Gamaleya National Research Centre for Epidemiology and Microbiology in Russia were approved on August 26 to do a Phase 3 trial, which posied to 40,000 volunteers.
Using adenoviruses, the researchers used the same approach is also employed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca. The adenovirus delivers genetic material for the spike protein that sits above the virus that produces COVID19. That genetic material is designed to generate an immune response to the virus.
Adenoviruses can cause a variety of symptoms, including the common cold. The researchers manipulate the virus, so it will not repeat and cause illness.
This Gamaleya vaccine is also administered in two doses with two adenovirus vectors each.
More trials to come
The last part of these trials is the distribution and mass administration of the vaccine. Previously, Russia planned to start October, the country’s frontline medical staff and teachers as the priority to be vaccinated.
Come the second week of September, the Post-registration trials of the vaccine will commence.
According to the report of Sobyanin to his statements to Vladimir Putin, the initial effort marks that there were over 5,000 people have already signed up to participate in the trials
Albeit this, half of the Russian citizens are skeptical about the vaccine.
“According to the polls, around half doubt whether they need to get vaccinated for coronavirus, whether it is developed enough or not. Two months ago, there were almost 90% skeptics,” said Sobyanin.
Upon the announcement of having the vaccine, even without the completion of trials, they said that some countries in Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia had expressed a desire to procure the vaccine.
Russia joined China as the two countries vying to fast track the production and approval of vaccines for the coronavirus.