First Vaccine: Russia claims first effective vaccine against coronavirus
A team of Russian scientists has reportedly developed the first vaccine against the SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus that causes Covid-19, Sputnik V. President Vladimir Putin has claimed that it provides "long-lasting immunity."
"This morning, for the first time in the world, a vaccine against the new coronavirus was registered," said Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, August 11, 2020. Called "Sputnik V", in reference to the Soviet satellite (first space machine in orbit), this serum would have been developed by the Nikolai Gamaleïa Institute, a Moscow-based state research center in epidemiology and microbiology.
On Wednesday, August 12, Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko indicated that the first doses of the vaccine would be reserved for medical personnel, then for teachers, as the Sputniknews site notes. "In any case, vaccination will be voluntary," said the minister.
The rest of the population could be vaccinated as soon as it is in circulation on January 1, 2021, according to the National Register of Medicines of the Ministry of Health, consulted by Russian news agencies. The Russian news agency Tacc has reportedly selected two production sites for their manufacture: the Gamaleia center in Moscow and the Binnopharm company.
Clinical trials are still ongoing
The Russian Health Ministry says that "clinical trials continue in several thousand people", but that double inoculation of the vaccine provides "a prolonged immunity that could last two years".
And Vladimir Putin insisted at the press conference: "I know that this vaccine is quite effective, that it gives lasting immunity." The president even affirmed that one of his daughters was inoculated with the vaccine: "She participated in the experiment," she had a little temperature, "and that's it."
More than 1 billion doses have been pre-ordered by 20 foreign countries, according to Kirill Dmitriev, president of the Russian sovereign wealth fund involved in its development. Phase 3 of the clinical trials is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, August 12.
However, the data on which these claims are based has not yet been published. However, we know that this vaccine has a viral vector: it uses another virus specially transformed and adapted to fight Covid-19 as a support.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reacted quickly and called for caution: "We are in close contact with the Russians and discussions continue. Prequalification of any vaccine goes through rigorous procedures," said Tarik Jasarevic, WHO spokesman during a video conference. This prequalification "includes the review and evaluation of all the required safety and efficacy data collected during clinical trials," he recalled, highlighting that the process would be the same for any candidate vaccine.
"Sometimes individual researchers claim to have found something, which of course, as such, is great news. But between finding or being able to have a vaccine that works and having followed all the steps, there is a big difference. "said Christian Lindmeier, another WHO spokesman.
Same story in Berlin. For the German Ministry of Health, "there are no known data on the quality, efficacy and safety of the Russian vaccine. However, the authorization of a vaccine in Europe presupposes, in addition to proof of its pharmaceutical quality, sufficient knowledge drawn from trials clinical trials to demonstrate efficacy and safety ". He added that within the European Union, "patient safety is the highest priority."
Other vaccines are being tested
Currently, 26 vaccine candidates are in clinical trials (tested in humans) and 139 in preclinical evaluation, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO). between them they would have reached phase III clinical trials, the last step before approval.
A second Russian vaccine prototype is reportedly being designed at the state research center Vektor (Siberia) and clinical trials are also underway to be completed in September.