On the 11th of August, Tuesday, the President of Russia, Vladamir Putin claimed that Sputnik V got regulatory approval from the health officials making it the world’s first covid-19 vaccine. Developed by Gamaleya Institute, Putin is convinced the vaccine will stabilize immunity, passes all safety checks and inoculated one of his daughters.
The Health Ministry of Russia has confirmed that the initial distribution of the vaccine has already commenced and this ground-breaking medical breakthrough has been achieved after months of continuous research.
While others think, it might be too quick to jump into any conclusions, Russian experts have assured that the technology they used to develop the vaccine has been used before in the past for the likes of Ebola and it was merely a matter of adjusting the old virus in relevance to the coronavirus and the data of the patients accumulated over months. As for Phase III, human trials will take place as the vaccine is made available.
Talking to CNN correspondents, the Russian officials have prioritized their frontline health workers first to be vaccinated followed by other vulnerable groups on a voluntary basis. Russian business conglomerate Sistema is expecting a total of 200 million doses to be manufactured by the end of the year with 30 million doses for Russia alone and rest 170 million for the world.
The vaccine is made of two serotypes of human adenovirus, each carrying an S-antigen of the novel coronavirus which when administered in two doses produce an immune response. This vaccine is by no means a trivial vaccine in terms of its technical complexity. This adenoviral vector vaccine is based out of a viral vector which is being used to deliver the gene sequence to spike the protein in order to offer “sustainable immunity”.
However, the name Sputnik alone spurs years of cold-war and the reappearance of the name, albeit in a different domain, is met with the same resistance whatsoever. The lack of published data on Phase I and Phase II of Russia’s vaccine has left medical experts, health authorities and the public bewildered and confused worldwide.
While Dr Anthony Fauci, a top US infectious disease official still awaits for evidence to ensure the widespread usage of the vaccine, former FDA commissioner Dr Scott Gottlieb on CNBC said he wouldn’t take the Sputnik V outside the clinical trial right now. A theme continuously reverberated among the experts across the globe and is consistent with Dr Sanjay Gupta’s concerns over the so-called vaccine.
Talking to CNN anchor, Anderson Cooper, Dr Gupta pointed out that without enough evidence to support the claims of Sputnik V, exposing your frontline health workers to this unknown vaccine can backfire and is highly probable to aggravate the overall situation.
The Chinese officials also claimed that they were too developing an adenoviral vector vaccine similar to the principles of Sputnik V through a company called Cancino based out of Canada which is still in the clinical trial phase. They also said that the early data of the tests are not at all encouraging.
Amidst all these speculations, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Kirill Dmitriev who funded that country’s vaccination research, ousted any international scrutiny assuring there is no political motive or intention neither on the governmental level nor on a personal level. Having received more than 1 billion doses of preliminary requests, Dmitriev plans to manufacture 500 million doses per year for five countries.
Driven by the urgency to restore normalcy in global economics and individual lifestyles, Sputnik V can very well not only eradicate this pandemic but also heal age-old severed ties between countries. Provided, it all works fine.
It is estimated that by end of October, Sputnik V, the Covid-19 vaccine will be made available to the rest of the world including USA & India.