Russia Says Sputnik COVID-19 Vaccine Shows Better Efficacy Than mRNA Vaccines
Sputnik V Vaccine

Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine demonstrates an 80% efficacy six to eight months after the second dose – a higher efficacy than officially published mRNA vaccines, announced the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) in a press briefing on Wednesday.

The efficacy data is based on “real-world data from the Ministry of Health of the Republic of San Marino”, according to the RDIF and has not yet been published.

This has led the Sputnik team to assert that adenoviral vaccines such as Sputnik V provide for longer efficacy than mRNA ones, such as the Pfizer and Moderna, “due to longer antibody and T-cell response”.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, while 90% effective against COVID-19 hospitalizations for all variants including Delta, had declining efficacy, falling from 88% within one month after receiving two doses to 47% after six months. 

Sputnik V efficacy is significantly higher than Pfizer vaccine after 6-8 months

Sputnik’s efficacy data from 18,600 fully vaccinated people found efficacy was at 80%  in the six to eight months after a second jab, while the hospitalization rate with COVID infection was only 0.75 per 1,000 people during the entire mass vaccination campaign in the country from February to November 2021.

Over 70% of the adult population of San Marino have been vaccinated with Sputnik V. 

Vaccine cocktails, the future of COVID vaccines 

Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund.

Going forward, RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev proposed vaccine combinations as a possible solution to COVID-19, including a potential combination with their one-shot vaccine, Sputnik Light, and mRNA vaccines.  

“We believe the future of vaccines is about cocktails. It’s about combining different vaccines to help prolong immunity.”

He added: “We are pro-boosters, but we believe the combination of vaccines should be explored much more.”

Sputnik Light has shown 70% efficacy against the Delta variant and is being promoted as a booster for non-Russian vaccines. 

As a vaccine cocktail, Sputnik V combines two adenoviruses – human adenovirus serotype 26 and human adenovirus serotype 5.

Sputnik V success in Argentina 

Dmitriev pointed that Argentina, which uses Sputnik and other vaccines, had a remarkable 35% decline in cases over the last four months. 

Russia will lift its ban on flights to Argentina, as well as Bangladesh, Brazil, Mongolia, and Costa Rica, from 1 December, as a result of the declining cases. 

The Sputnik team will be publishing additional data on long-term vaccine response from different countries, including those in Latin America, which Dmitriev noted was “very important” in showcasing the efficacy and safety of the vaccine. 

“It’s very important that this data is not coming just from Russia. We have an abundance of data on Sputnik, on more than 100 million people who were vaccinated outside of Russia, and that allows us to speak on the safety and efficacy of our vaccine – as one of the safest and one of the most efficient.” 

WHO Emergency Listing Approval expected by end of year, despite setbacks

Sputnik V is expected to be approved by the World Health Organization for emergency use listing (EUL) by the end of the year, according to Dmitriev.

“We are working with WHO but Sputnik is already saving tens of hundreds of millions of lives around the world,” he said.

Sputnik V is currently approved for use in 71 countries, with a total population of four billion people, and is the “second-largest vaccine in the world by numbers of registration from different countries.”

RDIF applied for EUL back in February but the process has been dogged by problems, including WHO inspectors flagging a number of concerns when visiting manufacturing sites in Russia, including control of aseptic operation and filling. Russia had also postponed planned inspections of the Sputnik manufacturing sites back in October.

COVID cases decline in Russia, but surge in rest of Europe

Russia has far fewer new COVID cases than most of Europe.

While Russia’s coronavirus death toll still hovers near all-time highs, the number of new infections continues to decline, in contrast to the rising surge occurring in many other countries in Europe. 

The state coronavirus task force reported 35,681 new confirmed cases, reflecting a steady downward trend since early November when the daily numbers topped 41,000. 

This is despite the country’s low vaccination rate – only 37.46% of the population is fully vaccinated.

A more expressed drop in COVID-19 cases is expected if the country continues to follow precautionary measures, infection disease specialist Yevgeny Timakov told Russian news agency TASS

“Stabilization process will take about a month, followed by the decline in the disease rate if there is control over infections sources at least in terms of wearing masks. Then everything will be normal and we will celebrate the New Year smoothly,” the expert said.

In comparison, the rest of Europe is currently experiencing a surge in COVID infections, with several countries reporting record-high infection rates, prompting governments to introduce full and partial lockdowns, as well as mandatory vaccinations.

Dmitriev attributed the spike in Europe’s cases to the decrease in efficacy of the mRNA vaccines, which a large percentage of Europe is vaccinated with, and called the rise in cases “alarming”.

“There shouldn’t be a breakout in cases. We believe that all vaccines are important and they protect from severe infections and hospitalizations, and yet, the number of cases that we see in Europe is really alarming,” he said.

Image Credits: Sputnikvaccine/Twitter.

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