According to Alexander Ginsburg, the trials for the Sputnik V vaccine are being speeded up. The initial results of the first six weeks of Covid-19 vaccine trial monitoring will be shared soon. As the Head of the Gamaleya Institute, he said that a first look at the interim data after 42 days of the trial would indicate the trend. While this move is also being seen as a step to one-upmanship, it cannot be denied that a vaccine for Covid-19 is the need of the hour.
Volunteers for the Russian vaccine will be monitored for 6 months after all those who are part of the trial stage are vaccinated. Then the results will need to be collected and published in a medical journal with international collaboration.
In September, many people have begun to get vaccinated without waiting for the vaccine trial results. Their health data is being collected online. Based on the interim results of the vaccine trial, the government might expand the mass vaccination drive. They might start with the population aged 60 and above. Till now, the vaccine trial Phase III has not resulted in any major side-effects.
The FDA of the U.S sets the threshold for a vaccine to be about 50% more effective than a placebo. Russia is looking for a success rate of nearly 75% more effective than a placebo. Brazil, Cuba, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and India are the next destinations for the Russian vaccine trial.
In addition to Russia, few other countries are also spearheading the race for a vaccine against Covid-19. AstraZeneca from the UK has not yet disclosed any details about the data from the trial launched in May 2020. Pfizer is conducting trials for the vaccine it has developed. It is with joint efforts from Moderna from the US and BioNTech from Germany.
Sputnik V is an adenovirus-based vaccine. It uses the adenovirus to carry the S gene into the human body. The gene works as the prime-boost with the ‘spike protein’ of the SARS-CoV-2 into the body. A SARS-CoV-2 virus is the cause of the Covid-19 infection. We all have some level of immunity against adenovirus as we have been exposed to such infections in our younger years. The Russian vaccine uses lyophilized formulations.
It allows the vaccine to be transported easily due to longer shelf life and the need for reduced refrigeration. The Sputnik V is to be administered in 2 doses. The antibodies for protection are produced by the first dose. The second dose extends the protection. There are no isolation norms for vaccinated persons.
The Indian pharmaceutical firm Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories will start the Phase III trials in the country. This is as per the agreement between Dr. Reddy’s and RDIF (Russian Direct Investment Fund). If approved in India, the company will have access to 100 million vaccine doses. With increasing cases of Coronavirus infections all over the world, the world awaits a vaccine with bated breath.