MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is 92% effective at protecting people from COVID-19 according to interim trial results, the country’s sovereign wealth fund said on Wednesday, as Moscow rushes to keep pace with Western drugmakers in the race for a shot.
FILE PHOTO: A nurse prepares Russia’s “Sputnik-V” vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for inoculation at a clinic in Tver, Russia October 12, 2020. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva
The initial results are only the second to be published from a late-stage human trial in the global race to produce a vaccine that could halt a pandemic that has killed more than 1.2 million people and ravaged the world economy.
Russia registered Sputnik V for public use in August, the first country to do so, though the approval came before the start of the large-scale trial in September.
The interim results are based on data from the first 16,000 trial participants to receive both shots of the two-dose vaccine, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which has been backing the vaccine and marketing it globally, said.
The so-called Phase III trial of the shot developed by the Gamaleya Institute is taking place in 29 clinics across Moscow and will involve 40,000 volunteers in total, with a quarter receiving a placebo shot.
The chances of contracting COVID-19 were 92% lower among people vaccinated with Sputnik V than those who received the placebo, the RDIF said.
That’s well above the 50% effectiveness threshold for COVID-19 vaccines set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
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“We are showing, based on the data, that we have a very effective vaccine,” said RDIF head Kirill Dmitriev, adding that it was the sort of news that the vaccine’s developers would talk about one day with their grandchildren.
Russia’s announcement follows swiftly on from results posted on Monday by vaccine developers Pfizer Inc and BioNTech, who said their shot was also more than 90% effective.
The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine uses messenger RNA (mRNA) technology and is designed to trigger an immune response without using pathogens, such as actual virus particles.
The Sputnik V vaccine is designed to trigger a response from two shots administered 21 days apart each based on different viral vectors that normally cause the common cold: human adenoviruses Ad5 and Ad26