Russian vaccine Sputnik V turns two

The world’s first registered Covid-19 vaccine has been supplied to 71 countries, home to four billion people, says the head of the fund behind Sputnik V

In the two years since its recording, Sputnik V has proven to be “one of the most effective and safest tools” against Covid-19 both in Russia and abroad, the head of the fund that financed the development of the vaccine and oversees its distribution said on Wednesday.

On August 11, 2020, Sputnik V became the world’s first vaccine against the new coronavirus to be registered, after receiving the relevant documents from the Russian Ministry of Health.

Since then, the jab, developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute, “has become the most exported drug in the history of Russia and rightly established itself as one of the most effective and safest tools to fight coronavirus infection in the world”, said the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Kirill Dmitriev.

“Sputnik V has been approved in 71 countries around the world where more than 4 billion people reside”, he noted.

In order to facilitate access to the vaccine, the RDIF organized mass production not only in Russia, but in 18 other countries, including India, China, Brazil, Argentina and Iran.

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The two-component vaccine Sputnik V showed 97.6% efficacy during the vaccination campaign in Russia, according to data from the Gamaleya Institute and the Ministry of Health.

Its effectiveness was also “confirmed by the results of more than 50 clinical studies and data from… national immunization programs in various regions of the world, including Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America”, said the head of the RDIF.

Research on the Russian jab has been published in international peer-reviewed medical journals, including The Lancet, Nature, Vaccines, Cell Reports Medicine and others, he pointed out.

“The vaccine not only helped protect people against the original strain of coronavirus and reduce the peak of the disease, but its proven universal platform of human adenoviral vectors showed great efficacy in combating new mutations. [of Covid-19]including Delta and Omicron strains,” said Dmitriev.

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A nurse shows vials of the Sputnik V vaccine booster dose, in Mexico City, Mexico.  © Luis Barron / Eyepix Group / Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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A joint study by the Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute of Infectious Diseases and the Gamaleya Institute, published in early 2022, “confirmed that Sputnik V provided the strongest defense against Omicron”, he said. Among other things, this document revealed that the Russian jab is 2.6 times more effective against Omicron than the American Pfizer shot.

A one-component Sputnik Light vaccine was also registered in Russia in May 2021 and later supplied to more than 30 countries. It became a “universal booster for other vaccines”, offering better protection against the Omicron strain and other mutations, according to the head of RDIF.

However, Sputnik V and Sputnik Light still do not have clearance from the World Health Organization and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Russian officials claimed the delay was due to political reasons. The RDIF was also among the first Russian entities to face Western sanctions following the launch of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine in February.

“The pandemic should be an important lesson for all of humanity – when it comes to saving lives, unity and collective efforts are needed. Only this path can effectively counter future threats, including epidemiological ones” , concluded Dmitriev.


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