Russia approved a coronavirus vaccine: it has yet to complete clinical trials

Author: Katarina Rausova

Published at: 08/11/2020

On August 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the country registered the first coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine named Sputnik V, previously known as Gam-COVID-Vac has been developed by the Gamaleya Institute. Russia’s minister of health, Mikhail Murashko has said that Russia will begin a mass vaccination campaign in the fall.

The first vaccine safety trials in humans started in March, after the global outbreak of COVID-19. The vaccine testing process has several steps. In the preclinical testing, the vaccine is given to animals to see if it produces an immune response. In phase I safety trials scientists give the vaccine to a small number of people to test safety and dosage as well as to confirm that it stimulates the immune system. Phase II are expanded trials. Here scientists give the vaccine to hundreds of people split into different groups. The Russian Sputnik V vaccine is currently at this stage and has been tested on 38 people.  

Phase III are efficacy trials where thousands of people receive the vaccine and wait to see how many people become infected. Coronavirus vaccine would have to protect at least 50% of vaccinated people to be considered effective.

European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, is hopeful that a coronavirus vaccine approved after Phase III could be ready by the end of 2020. On July 31, 2020, the Commission announced a preliminary agreement with Sanofi on a potential vaccine.

In our database, we have currently 78 COVID-19 candidate vaccines. Some of the most promising substances are The University of Oxford's ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, Sinovac's PiCoVacc, Moderna's mRNA-1273, and CanSino Biological's Ad5-nCoV.