Russia's Sputnik V vaccine 91.6% effective against COVID-19

The vaccine was met with controversy after Russia began roll-out prior to the publication of final trial data

Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 has been found to be 91.6% effective in fighting the virus. 

Results from the late-stage trials were published by scientists in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet.

The vaccine was deemed safe for use, offering complete protection against hospitalisation and death.

Similar to the AstraZeneca jab, it can be stored at temperatures between 2°C and 8°C, and is administered in two doses given 21 days apart. However, the Sputnik vaccine makes use of a slightly different version of the vaccine for the second dose.

No serious reactions were linked to the vaccine during the trial, while some mild side effects were reported, including a sore arm, slight fever, and fatigue.

Russia had initially caught some flak for rolling out the vaccine prior to the publication of final trial data, but the results appear to be in line with efficacy data published at earlier trial stages.

Ian Jones and Polly Roy, two scientists independent from the study, published a comment in The Lancent celebrating the results of the trial data.

“The development of the Sputnik V vaccine has been criticised for unseemly haste, corner cutting, and an absence of transparency, but the outcome reported here is clear and the scientific principle of vaccination is demonstrated, which means another vaccine can now join the fight to reduce the incidence of COVID-19.” 

Since the analysis only focused on symptomatic cases of the virus, further research will have to be carried out to understand the vaccine's efficacy against asymptomatic cases, and whether it prevents transmission from vaccinated persons.

So far, 15 countries have approved Sputnik V for use, including Argentina, Hungary, and Palestinian territories. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that all COVID-19 vaccines would be welcome in the EU once authorised by the European Medicines Authority.

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