On August 11, 2020, the first publicly available vaccine against COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) of Russian production Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac) was registered.

It was developed by the National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology named after Academician N.F.

Gamalei.

During this time, the vaccine managed to establish itself as a reliable and safe drug with an efficiency higher than 90%. 

The effectiveness was confirmed by international independent experts in the February publication of vaccine clinical trial data in one of the oldest medical journals, The Lancet.

Later, the drug was also highly appreciated in the scientific journal Nature.

Analysts emphasize that the Russian development has strengthened the position of the Russian Federation in the international arena as the owner of advanced technologies, capable of creating high-quality drugs in a short time.

Sputnik V has become a real breakthrough and an important achievement of Russia in the international arena.

This is the first and one of the most effective vaccines that was presented to the world community, "said Nikita Danyuk, deputy director of the Institute for Strategic Studies and Forecasts of the RUDN University, a member of the Public Chamber of Russia, in a commentary to RT.

According to him, the drug has confirmed the high scientific and medical potential of the country.

Space achievements

The vaccine, named after the first Soviet space satellite, Sputnik 1, was developed on the well-studied platform of human adenoviral vectors that cause the common cold. As explained in Rospotrebnadzor, "the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is delivered into the cell using a so-called vector - another virus that does not cause disease." At the same time, in Sputnik V, for the first time among vaccines against coronavirus, a heterogeneous boosting approach was applied. According to him, different vectors of the virus are used in the two components of the drug, which makes it possible to form a more stable immunity.

"The Sputnik V vaccine was made from a part of the genetic code of the coronavirus inserted into another virus and injected into the human body," said Gennady Onishchenko, State Duma deputy, academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, former chief sanitary doctor of Russia, in an interview with RT.

The effectiveness of the Russian drug in comparison with Western vector developments such as AstraZeneca, Onishchenko noted, is higher due to its construction on the vector of a human virus.

"The Russian vaccine is better in the sense that it is built on the vector of the human virus, and the AstraZeneca on the monkey," said the former head physician of the Russian Federation.

In addition to the fact that Sputnik V does not cause severe allergies, it can also be used in pregnant women and patients with oncology.  

It is worth noting that Sputnik V was developed in a fairly short time since the beginning of the pandemic.

Thus, the first outbreak of coronavirus was recorded in Wuhan, China in December 2019, and in August 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the registration of Sputnik V.

According to experts, such a tight deadline is explained by the achievements of Russian scientists in the field of studying coronavirus infections.

“The prototype of the vaccine was ready a few years ago, because the Middle East MERS coronavirus had spread earlier.

The vaccine developers simply swapped one coronavirus for another.

The presence of a prototype made it possible to quickly create and register a vaccine, "said Georgy Vikulov, director of the Research Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Viral Infections, infectious disease doctor, immunologist, in an interview with RT.

His words were confirmed by Gennady Onishchenko, noting that the design of genetically modified vaccines was applied back in 2012 (when MERS spread).

“But at that time it was not completed for the reason that the need disappeared.

When COVID-19 arose, the plasmid in the human vector was replaced with one another, in particular from MERS to COVID-19, "the interlocutor of RT explained.

  • "Sputnik V"

  • © REUTERS / Radovan Stoklasa

In this regard, Onishchenko stressed the importance of creating such blanks in order to quickly resist other possible viruses.

“Other viruses can behave differently, so this kind of preparation should always be there.

And in the future, they need to have more than one, and not only from the coronavirus.

If a new type of virus appears, Russia will also adapt its drug for it so that it would provide immunity against another disease, ”added Gennady Onishchenko.

In Russia, mass vaccination of the population started in January 2021.

According to the latest data, about 30 million Russians have completed the full cycle of vaccination with Sputnik V. 

The universal answer

Experts emphasize that the effectiveness of "Sputnik V" in relation to new strains of coronavirus is indicative.

Thus, the Russian drug is effective against the Indian strain "delta", and against the British "alpha", and against the Brazilian "gamma", and against the so-called Moscow strain, which has not yet been assigned a specific designation.

In this regard, fundamentally new vaccines will no longer be created, as it will be faster to improve those that exist, Georgy Vikulov believes.

“I am sure that there will be no more creation of new vaccines, here we can rather talk about the creation of a new generation of existing drugs, taking into account both the composition and the method of administration.

For example, nasal vaccines for topical use are now being developed, ”he said.

Speaking about the sensational Indian strain, Vikulov noted that we are talking about the search for new protective antibody titers.

“Due to the fact that the delta-strain virus escapes the immune response, neutralizes some of the antibodies, respectively, further immunological and epidemiological studies will continue.

So, they will be looking for a protective, protective, titer of antibodies in order to understand what population immunity means, "the interlocutor of RT explained.

Earlier, the positive results of the study of the action of "Sputnik V" against new strains were announced at the Gamaleya Center.

According to the data obtained, the blood serum taken from those vaccinated with this drug neutralizes the new strains of SARS-CoV-2.

The research results were published in the leading international journal Vaccines.

  • Vaccination

  • © REUTERS / Pavel Mikheyev

Worldwide recognition

Russia's Sputnik V is one of the most famous and recognizable vaccines in the world. So, it is recognized and successfully applied in almost 70 countries. Among them are Brazil, Kyrgyzstan, Algeria, Iran, Slovakia, Tunisia, Pakistan and others. According to the official website of the vaccine, more than 14 countries have already announced the launch of vaccine production, including India, China, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Iran, Italy, South Korea, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Serbia, Turkey and Vietnam.

In particular, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India plans to produce more than 300 million Sputnik V annually.

The first batch will be produced in September.

In the meantime, as pointed out at the end of June, the head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Denis Manturov, from July abroad they will produce about 5-6 million doses of the Russian vaccine against coronavirus monthly, and in Russia itself, up to 30 million doses of Sputnik V will be produced per month.

Experts note that in addition to its effectiveness, the drug also benefits from simple logistics and relatively low cost: the storage temperature of the drug is + 2 ... + 8 ° C, and the price of one injection is less than $ 10.

For comparison: the storage temperature for the Pfizer vaccine is -80 ...- 60 ° C, and for Moderna -25 ...- 15 ° C.

And the price exceeds the cost of Sputnik V - $ 19.5 for one injection of Pfizer and $ 37 for Moderna.

One country that has successfully vaccinated its entire population with Sputnik V is San Marino.

As reported in the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which oversees the implementation of Sputnik V abroad, the use of the Russian vaccine allowed San Marino to become the first country in Europe to defeat the coronavirus.

The state itself confirmed this statement.

“According to our data, the vaccine is highly effective - it is close to 100%.

Thanks to the vaccination with Sputnik V, all residents of San Marino developed antibodies ... Now in the Republic of San Marino there are no hospitalized coronavirus patients at all, "said the country's Minister of Health, Roberto Ciavatta, in an interview with RT.

The effectiveness of "Sputnik V" was also proved as a result of a joint study by the authorities of San Marino and the Roman National Institute of Infectious Diseases named after Lazzaro Spallanzani.

Thus, it was reported that 99% of the study participants (out of more than 5 thousand people) developed antibodies after the second dose of the drug.

Similar results have been demonstrated in the UAE.

According to the RDIF, the results of the analysis of data from more than 81 thousand people vaccinated with both components of Sputnik V showed 97.8% of the effectiveness of the vaccine.

"At the same time, the Russian vaccine has also demonstrated full (100%) effectiveness against severe cases of coronavirus," the report said.

High confidence in the Russian drug was also shown by the heads of a number of states, having been instilled in it.

Among them are the President of Guinea Alfa Conde, the leader of Argentina Alberto Fernandez, the head of Bolivia Luis Arce, the President of Syria Bashar al-Assad, the head of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he had administered the Sputnik V vaccine during his annual direct line.

The politician argued his choice in favor of the vaccine by the fact that "Sputnik V" has a longer effect.

“I proceeded from the fact that I needed to be protected as long as possible, and made the decision for myself to be grafted with Sputnik V,” the Russian leader said.

Vaccine politicization

Despite this, in Europe as a whole, Sputnik V is treated with caution and sometimes even hostility. In particular, the French Foreign Ministry expressed the opinion that the EU countries should not recognize the COVID-19 vaccines developed in China and Russia. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielyus Landsbergis was even more categorical, stressing that Vilnius would not buy the Russian drug, even if it was registered by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Meanwhile, the EMA itself is also in no hurry to recognize Sputnik V.

At the same time, as noted by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the representatives personally visited medical institutions in Moscow involved in clinical trials of Sputnik V, as well as production sites.

In addition, at the end of April, EMA completed the first stage of the examination of the Russian vaccine.

At the end of May, the Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of Malta, Evarista Bartolo, suggested that the agency would register the drug in May-June, but so far the EMA has not presented any decision.

The "double standards" of the West in relation to Russian vaccines against COVID-19, in particular to "Sputnik V", spoke, in particular, of the Russian ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov.

“The West refuses to admit that the achievements of our scientists can help to ensure the health and well-being of all mankind.

Moreover, a targeted campaign is being conducted against domestic drugs, ”he said.

Experts note that the process of recognizing Sputnik V abroad is quite politicized, especially by Western powers, and is also sinking in bureaucratic delays.

“The EU has a very long process of obtaining a certificate that this medical product complies with all standards.

At the same time, in addition to the bureaucratic machine, politics intervened in the matter.

From the very beginning, many countries within the EU expressed a desire to use Sputnik V, and this dealt a big blow to those conglomerates, companies that created their own vaccines and planned to distribute them to the European market, "Nikita Danyuk explained.

And this despite the fact, he stressed, that Russia was trying in every possible way to remove its vaccine from the political field.

“Russia has tried as much as possible to divert the issue of the vaccine towards universal, humanistic principles.

That is why she began to export the drug, shared her technologies and was in every possible way ready to supply the vaccine to the most remote corners of the world, so that it would be useful, ”the analyst said.

Despite this, some countries still cannot accept that Russia is successful in the fight against coronavirus, and are trying to present it as a certain player who is supposedly going to manipulate its international partners, said Nikita Danyuk.

He also linked the negative information campaign around Sputnik V with the West's desire to continue pressure on Moscow even in such an area that should be outside politics, such as medicine.

However, the expert emphasized, even in conditions of such pressure, Russia manages to show high results in presenting high-quality vaccines to the world.

“In this case, Sputnik V has become a real embodiment of Russian soft power, in which Russia not only earned political points, but once again won the respect and trust of its partners around the world,” Danyuk summed up.

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