Russian COVID Vaccine 'Sputnik V'

Scientists cast doubt on results from Russian COVID-19 vaccine

*Researchers express concerns over seemingly identical levels of antibodies in a number of study participants who were inoculated with the experimental vaccine

*Vaccines are not normally cleared before broad assessments of their efficacy and safety

*There were no errors in the study, replies Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As some countries have already started taking delivery of ‘samples’ of the COVID-19 vaccine, a group of international scientists have interrogated results from a study of Russia’s fast-moving Coronavirus vaccine.

The researchers’ remarks were published in the Lancet medical journal, declaring that some of the findings in respect of the vaccine appeared improbable, according to Bloomberg.

The scientists were reported to have expressed concerns over seemingly identical levels of antibodies in a number of study participants who were inoculated with the experimental vaccine.

In an open letter written by Temple University professor Enrico Bucci and signed by more than a dozen other scientists, they opined this and other patterns in the data present “several different points of concern”.

The Lancet published results of the early-stage trial last week, offering the first look at the Russian study to be vetted by outside experts.

A move by the government to approve the shot for use based on the initial results had drawn widespread skepticism, since vaccines are not normally cleared before broad assessments of their efficacy and safety.

The Lancet said it encouraged debate on papers that it’s published.

According to the medical journal, “we have shared the letter directly with the authors and encouraged them to engage in the scientific discussion.”

The Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, which is developing the vaccine, told the news portal Meduza that there were no errors in the study.

Deputy Director Denis Logunov told Meduza, that “if the Lancet’s Editorial Board asks for clarification, we are ready to answer.”

Logunov said that he was not planning to answer the scientists behind the open letter, report said.

ConsumerConnect reports that drugmakers racing to produce COVID-19 vaccines recently pledged to avoid shortcuts on science as they face pressure to rush a shot to market for immunisation against the ravaging Coronavirus disease.

In an unusual public letter, the companies agreed to submit the vaccines for clearance only when they’re shown to be safe and effective in large clinical studies.

The Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of nine frontrunners in the push for a Coronavirus inoculation signed the pledge: AstraZeneca Plc, BioNTech SE, GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co., Moderna Inc., Novavax Inc., Pfizer Inc. and Sanofi.

According to the Chief Executives, “in the interest of public health, we pledge to always make the safety and well-being of vaccinated individuals our top priority.”

Recall that the Nigerian Government were reported to have received samples of COVID-19 vaccine from Russia September 4, 2020.

H.E. Alexey Shebarshin, Russia’s Ambassador to Nigeria, were said to have delivered the samples to Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Honourable Minister for Health, during a visit to the latter’s office in Abuja, FCT.

Dr. Ehanire was quoted as saying that the vaccine would be quickly referred to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) as well as the Nigeria Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development, amongst other agencies, for review and possible validation.

“We are exploring all knowledge in terms of therapeutics and vaccines,” Ehanire said in a statement by the health ministry.

“We are expressing our interest for the COVID19 vaccine so that we will have the opportunity to work elaborately.

However, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) later corrected itself on the development, saying, contrary to its much publicised claim Friday, September 4, it did not receive COVID-19 vaccine samples from the Russian Ambassador in Nigeria, Alexey L. Shebarshin.

Olujimi Oyetomi, Director of Information, Media and Public Relations of the Ministry in a post on its verified Facebook page, titled: “FMOH Press Correction” same day clarified the information, that the Russian-made COVID-19 vaccine is still in the custody of the Russian Embassy.

Oyetomi stated that the “Ministry’s Media and Public Relations Unit wishes to correct the impression that the Russian-made COVID-19 Vaccine has been handed over to the Health authorities in Nigeria.

“What was handed over was an aide memoir to enable the Nigerian team study and get ready for further researches, patronage and application.”

Additional reporting by Alexander Davis

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