Russian scientists say the country’s Sputnik V vaccine appears safe and effective against Covid-19, according to early results of an advanced study published in a British medical journal.
The news is a boost for the shot that is increasingly being purchased by nations around the world who are desperate to stop the devastation caused by the pandemic.
Researchers say based on their trial, which involved about 20,000 people in Russia last fall, the vaccine is about 91 percent effective and that the shot also appeared to prevent people from becoming severely ill with Covid-19. The study was published online Tuesday, February 2, 2021, in the journal, Lancet.
The Sputnik V vaccine was approved by the Russian government with much fanfare on Aug. 11. President Vladimir Putin personally broke the news on national television and said that one of his daughters had already been vaccinated with it. At the time, the vaccine had only been tested in several dozens of people.
Some early results were published in September, but participants had only been followed for about 42 days and there was no comparison group.
The latest study is based on research involving about 20,000 people over age 18 at 25 hospitals in Moscow between September and November, of whom three-quarters got two doses of the Russian vaccine 21 days apart and the remainder got placebo shots.
The most commonly reported side effects were flu-like symptoms, pain at the injection site, and fatigue. Serious side effects were rare in both groups and four deaths were reported in the study, although none were considered to be the result of the vaccine.