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Argentina Says Russia’s Covid-19 Vaccine More Effective Than Chinese, Indian Competitors

Argentina has so far distributed the first dose of Sputnik V among 2.6 million recipients. Sergei Vedyashkin / Moskva News Agency

Argentina’s health ministry has said Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is more effective at preventing coronavirus infections than its Chinese and Indian competitors, the South American country’s media reported Wednesday.

Argentina has so far distributed the first doses of Sputnik V among 2.6 million recipients, China’s Sinopharm among 1.2 million and India’s Covishield among more than half a million, according to the Telam news agency.

Argentina’s health ministry reported that 0.27% of Sputnik V recipients contracted Covid-19 two weeks after the first dose, according to Telam. That compares to 0.49% of Sinopharm and 0.46% of Covishield first-dose recipients.

Covishield is the local Indian brand name for the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in Britain. It is produced at the Serum Institute of India.

“This is a surveillance evaluation,” the health ministry’s communicable disease control director Juan Manuel Castelli was quoted as saying at a press briefing. “These are auspicious results, but you have to be cautious.”

“The vaccine clearly decreases the potential occurrence of complications, hospitalizations and deaths but does not completely prevent the disease,” Castelli was quoted as saying.

Argentina’s research council this week published a report showing that 94% of Sputnik V first-dose recipients produced specific antibodies. The report, involving 288 participants and overseen by the country’s science ministry, said 100% of two-dose recipients had developed specific antibodies. 

Argentina, the first Latin American country to authorize Sputnik V in December amid questions among international experts over its safety, is among several countries battling a renewed spike in Covid-19 cases. 

A total of 60 countries have approved Sputnik V, with India the latest country to authorize Russia’s jab this week.

Research published in The Lancet medical journal in February showed Sputnik V to be 91.6% effective, though developers have acknowledged it to be less effective against the South African variant.

Russia has been one of the world’s most-affected countries by the virus and has recorded at least 422,000 excess deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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