This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
The Russian Sputnik-V vaccine against the coronavirus is more than 90 percent effective at protecting people, the producer said on November 11, as Moscow rushes to keep pace with Western drug makers in the race for a vaccine.
Based on the numbers of those individuals who contracted the virus after being vaccinated or given a placebo in a trial study of 16,000 volunteers, the Sputnik-V vaccine had an efficacy rate of 92 percent, the state-sponsored Gamaleya Institute said in a statement.
The statement comes shortly after U.S. pharma giant Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech said their vaccine was more than 90 percent effective.
Gamaleya Director Aleksandr Gintsburg said interim results demonstrated Sputnik-V’s effectiveness and that mass doses would be rolled out in Russia in the coming weeks.
Scientists have raised concerns about Moscow launching mass vaccinations before full trials to test its safety and efficacy had been completed.
“I assume there was political pressure after the press release from Pfizer and BioNTech earlier in the week to now draw level with their own data,” said Bodo Plachter, deputy director of the Institute of Virology at Mainz University in Germany.
“What is missing for now is an analysis of statistical significance.”
Russia was the first country to approve its coronavirus vaccine for widespread use by the public, registering Sputnik-V in August, ahead of the start of the large-scale trial in September.
Around a dozen vaccines are said to be in the final stages of testing worldwide.
On November 11, Russia said it had registered 19,851 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours and a record high of 432 deaths.
Russia’s official tally — 1,836,960 cases — is the fifth-largest in the world, behind the United States, India, Brazil, and France.