Vaccine is named Sputnik V, Western experts claim Russia is skipping Phase III trials to be first
New Delhi: It is Russia again. Russia has become the first country in the world to register Covid-19 vaccine worldwide.
Russia President Vladimir Putin while addressing a meeting with officials, said that the first vaccine of the world against coronavirus has been registered in Russia.
Tass reported him as saying: “ As far as I know, this morning for the first time in the world, a vaccine against the novel coronavirus infection was registered.”
According to a report from Tass, Putin even said that one of his daughters had tested this vaccine on herself and that she is all right.
He also informed the officials that the vaccine forms stable cell and antibody immunity.
He even added: “Some people do not have any symptoms at all” after getting a vaccine shot.
However, western experts are still not very convinced and feel that Russia may have cut corners to be the first in the race to develop a vaccine.
The doubters of Russia success story claim that Russia has not completed Phase III trials on tens of thousands of volunteers. Such trials, they say, is essential to ensure that the vaccine is safe for humans.
Normally, Phase I and Phase II trials are done on less number of people. However, phase III trials are conducted on tens of thousands of people against placebo, to check whether the vaccine is effective and safe or not with statistical accuracy.
They point out that such big trials also point out if there are any side effects, which were not found out during Phase I and Phase II trials.
For a vaccine to be declared suitable to be used, it has to be 50 percent more effective compared to a placebo.
The naysayers say that the World Health Organization maintains a comprehensive list of vaccine trials and it does not include any mention of Russia’s Phase III trials.
Western experts feel that a vaccine would likely be available only by year end.
However, Russian experts disagree. They say that it is effective enough already and they would soon begin a mass vaccination campaign. The vaccination would start with teachers and medical workers first.
Even during Cold War, Russia had initially pipped US with Sputnik launch. But, US had the last laugh virtually winning the space competition with first human landing on Moon.
Russia has even named its vaccine Sputnik V reminding the world of its first orbital satellite, which was launched in 1957 and which started the space competition and the Cold War between the two countries. The name also symbolises Russians’ pride in their science and tech capabilities.
And you can be sure that West will be dismissive of Russian victory too.