Did we underestimate Russia’s vaccine?


Every human life is precious and sacred and saving one is like the saving of the whole of humanity. (Al Quran 5:32/33)

Source: Washington Post

Not long ago, talk of the Russian-made coronavirus vaccine provoked mockery. “There’s no way in hell the U.S. tries this on monkeys, let alone people,” a Trump administration official told CNN in August, referring to initial reports about Russia’s development of the Sputnik V drug — which bypassed traditional steps in testing before its release. Even at home, where a history of political opacity and bureaucratic incompetence has left a lingering distrust of authority, many ordinary Russians shied away from getting the jab once it was made available to the public in December.

But now, Sputnik V — named after the world’s first satellite that saw the Soviets initially outpace the Americans in the space race — is starting to look like it could be a global success story. It got a boost last week after the respected British medical journal the Lancet published a peer-reviewed paper that found the vaccine had 91.6 percent efficacy 21 days after the first shot and 91.8 percent for those over 60 years old, placing it on par with the celebrated Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

More than a dozen countries have approved the vaccine for use, with more likely to follow now that it has received the Lancet’s seal of approval. Sputnik V is considerably cheaper than its Western competitors and does not require the same sort of ultracold storage infrastructure that would complicate distribution of the Pfizer vaccine in much of the developing world.

“This is a watershed moment for us,” Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the state-run Russian Direct Investment Fund, which is behind both Sputnik V’s development and its international rollout, told Bloomberg News.

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Categories: Russia, Vaccine

1 reply

  1. Will your yearly physical include a Covid-19 vaccine booster shot? Probably, experts said Wednesday.

    The coronavirus has shown it can mutate like the flu and the vaccines will have to be updated to counter new strains, they said.

    “I think a big question on this coronavirus is, is it something that we’re gonna have forever,” Dr. Richard Besser, a former acting director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told NBC News senior medical correspondent Dr. John Torres. “This virus is showing an incredible ability to mutate, to change, to adapt, in a sense, to everything we’re putting against it.”

    Besser, who is currently president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, addressed the issue after Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky joined the growing chorus of public health officials and infectious disease experts who have warned that Covid-19 is likely to be an endemic disease.

    That means Covid-19 will stick around like the flu, though not at the same level that we are seeing now.

    “Unfortunately, as (the virus) spreads, it can also mutate,” Besser told CNBC’s Meg Tirrell. “Every time it mutates, it’s almost like another click of the dial so to speak where we can see another variant, another mutation that can have an impact on its ability to fend off antibodies or to have a different kind of response not only to a therapeutic but also to a vaccine.”


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