The world has been struggling with COVID-19 since March, the number of coronavirus cases is fluctuating every day. People started adapting to the “New Normal” by wearing masks and gloves and keeping clean by using hand wash and sanitizers. The whole world is eagerly waiting for COVID-19 vaccine or medicine so that the pandemic could permanently end and we can get back to our everyday lives. Many scientists also suggested that it might take almost a year or more to find COVID vaccine or medicine but breaking all those assumptions, the Russian government recently announced that they successfully developed a vaccine for COVID-19. It was developed by Russia’s Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and microbiology. Russia became the first country to develop the COVID-19 vaccine called Sputnik 5 in a very short period of time. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced this in an online meeting with government officials.
What Is Sputnik 5?
Sputnik 5 is the world’s first-ever COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is based on a human adenoviral vector. The common cold is caused by human adenovirus, these viruses are weakened when the protein codes are inserted. This stimulates an immune response in the body. The vaccine is supposed to be given in two different doses(rAD26 and rAD5) with a gap of 21 days to boost its effect.
When the director of the interview was questioned about how the COVID vaccine was developed in a short period, he explained that adenoviral vector technology was introduced almost 4 decades back and since 2015, thousands of people were given and tested with the medicine, hence the success is not achieved in 5 months. He also mentioned that in the period from December to January, more than 5 million doses per month will be produced so that they can make the vaccine available to other countries also.
The vaccine has received a certification from the Russian ministry of health. But the vaccine has been tested in only 76 people and many scientists around the world are opposing it. The certificate also refers that the vaccine cannot be used widely until January 1, 2021, only after all the clinical trials are over. The Russian health minister in an interview said that the vaccine developed for COVID-19 showed “high efficacy and safety” and no serious side effects were noted. Sputnik 5 was supposed to provide 2 years of immunity against Coronavirus. The Russian President mentioned that the vaccine has passed several phases and had been tested on one of his daughters.
WHO’s View on Sputnik 5
Many questions were raised about its trails and safety tests about the vaccine. After the announcement of the COVID vaccine “Sputnik 5”, the World Health Organization said any WHO stamp on the COVID-19 vaccine candidate must possess a rigorous data review. WHO’s director-general said that they still do not have any additional information to make a judgment and they are contacting Russian for further information about the vaccine.
But the spokesman of the United Nations Health Agency said “pre-qualification of any vaccine includes the rigorous review and assessment of all the required safety and efficacy data” he also mentioned that the Russian health authorities are having discussions with the World Health Organization for pre-qualification of the vaccine.
According to WHO, an overall of only 28 vaccines have gone through several phases of testing on humans and only 6 have reached the phase-3 of clinical trials but Sputnik-5 is still in phase-1. Sputnik-5 was financed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund. Recently, its director said that the phase-3 trials would begin soon. He also mentioned that about 20 countries have already pre-ordered over a billion doses. He also said, “accelerating progress does not mean compromising on safety”.