Russian Covid-19 Vaccine Was Highly Effective in Trial, Study Finds, Boosting Moscow’s Rollout Ambitions

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Sputnik V shot achieved 91.6% efficacy against coronavirus symptoms, says paper in U.K.’s Lancet

Russia’s homegrown Sputnik V vaccine showed high levels of efficacy and safety in a peer-reviewed study released Tuesday, a potential boost for the Kremlin’s aim to promote the Covid-19 shot abroad and curb the pandemic at home.

The findings, from a preliminary analysis of a large-scale clinical trial published in the British medical journal the Lancet, demonstrated that the two-shot vaccine was 91.6% effective against symptomatic Covid-19 and offered complete protection against severe cases. There were no serious side effects, the paper said. The vaccine was also found to be similarly safe and effective in elderly people.

The study could be a significant milestone for Moscow in the global vaccination race, potentially offering President Vladimir Putin’s government geopolitical clout in the developing world and the chance to tap into the lucrative global vaccine market. Russia—the world’s fourth worst-hit country with nearly four million cases—has also banked on Sputnik V to avoid new costly lockdowns as authorities plan to vaccinate 60% of the domestic population by the end of the year.

The shot, which was approved by Russian authorities in August before undergoing large-scale clinical trials, has stirred questions in light of its fast-tracked development and lack of published trial data. So far, Sputnik V has been administered to more than two million people world-wide, including in Argentina, Serbia and Algeria, according to Russian authorities.

Tuesday’s results could help clear doubts surrounding the Russian shot.

Based on WSJ