Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine is 92% effective, its developers said Wednesday as the global race heats up over mass vaccination to slow the spread of the pandemic that has killed nearly 1.3 million people and battered economies worldwide.
Interim results showed that 20 of the 16,000 volunteers who received both Sputnik V doses have contracted Covid-19, the Russian Health Ministry, state-run Gamaleya research center and Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said in a statement.
“As a result of a statistical analysis of 20 confirmed cases of coronavirus, the case split between vaccinated individuals and those who received the placebo indicates that the Sputnik V vaccine had an efficacy rate of 92% after the second dose,” the statement said.
More than 20,000 volunteers have received the first dose of Sputnik V as of Wednesday, according to Gamaleya, the Health Ministry and RDIF.
The developers said that “some” of the volunteers experienced short-term “pain at the injection site [and] flu-like syndrome including fever, weakness, fatigue and headache.” They noted that these adverse effects were expected.
Sputnik V's final, or Phase 3, trials involve a total of 40,000 volunteers at around two dozen Moscow clinics.
Separate Sputnik V injections being administered to medics and other at-risk groups outside Moscow demonstrated the vaccine’s efficacy rate of over 90%, the developers said. Officials in the Altai region of Siberia reported earlier Wednesday that three out of the 42 medics who received the adenovirus vector-based vaccine there ended up contracting Covid-19.
The developers promised to publish the interim data of Sputnik V’s efficacy in a peer-reviewed journal following independent evaluation by epidemiologists, then provide access to the full clinical trial report after Phase 3 trials wrap up.
Russia’s interim results follow the announcement by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech that their vaccine, which is also undergoing Phase 3 trials, was 90% effective at preventing Covid-19.