CORONAVIRUS

Russia rolls out first batches of Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine

The Russian Health Ministry confirmed the first deliveries of Sputnik V have been sent out to test logistical issues ahead of a planned mass vaccination.

Russia rolls out first batches of Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine
Facultad de Medicina de la Unive -- Facultad de Medicina de la Unive

The coronavirus is sweeping across Europe again as winter approaches and the world is racing to find vaccines against Covid-19 with several potential candidates in late-stage trials across the globe. One is Russia’s Sputnik V, which it is expected by the country’s health authorities will have passed through the various hoops needed to be approved by the end of October having been the first vaccine in the world to be granted regulatory approval when Vladimir Putin announced its development on August 11.

Health Minister Mikhail Murashko has confirmed that Sputnik V will start to be delivered to hospitals and clinics as of next week after achieving immune responses in 100 percent of trial participants in stages I and II with no negative side effects. A report in The Lancet noted that the Russian vaccine candidate “has a good safety profile.”

As such, the Russian Health Ministry announced on Saturday that the first batches of Sputnik V have been dispatched to the various regions of Russia in a pilot project “to test the logistical chains of supplying the drug across Russia, it’s distribution and the organization of the vaccination programme against Covid-19 for those citizens in the high-risk group.”

Russia to start vaccination programme in November / December

Phase III trials of Sputnik V are underway with 30,000 participants taking part in the voluntary vaccination tests. Running alongside the trial, 10,000 other volunteers will receive a placebo.

The assistant director of the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, Denis Logunov, said Sputnik V has shown “a very good safety profile” and that no “serious secondary effects have been detected and 100 percent of the volunteers have developed antibodies against the virus.”

Once the Phase III trials have been completed, Russia anticipates being able to start a mass vaccination programme at the end of November or the beginning of December.