Russia announced on Thursday the approval of a “light” version of its flagship vaccine against the coronavirus, Sputnik V, which is administered in a single dose against two for its initial version.
This approval was announced at the same time by the developers of the vaccine and by the Russian Deputy Prime Minister in charge of health, Tatiana Golikova, during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, broadcast on television.
Cost less than 10 dollars
According to the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which finances the development of the vaccine, Sputnik Light is 79.4% effective, compared to 91.6% for its two-dose version. “The Sputnik Light vaccine is based on a well-researched human adenoviral vector platform that has been shown to be safe and effective,” RDIF continued in a statement, adding that the cost of this version of the injection will be “lower overall. at 10 dollars ”.
According to Alexandre Guintsbourg, director of the Moscow Gamaleïa research center behind the Russian vaccine, Sputnik Light will allow “faster immunization of larger population groups, as well as support high levels of immunity in those who have already been contaminated ”. RDIF director Kirill Dmitriev, also quoted in the press release, believes that this version “significantly reduces the likelihood of severe cases leading to hospitalization.”
An exported version
According to him, two-dose Sputnik V “will remain the main source of vaccination in Russia, while Sputnik Light will be exported.” Russia prides itself on being the first country to register a coronavirus vaccine as early as August 2020, an announcement that was then deemed abroad premature, even before the start of mass clinical trials (phase III) and the publication of scientific results. In February, the prestigious medical journal The Lancet noted that Sputnik V was 91.6% efficient, dispelling doubts about its reliability.
For want of being able to produce enough and wishing to devote its production as a priority to its population, Russia has however delivered so far only reduced quantities outside its territory. At the end of April, the Brazilian regulator Anvisa refused to approve the Russian vaccine, assuring that it carried an active version of a common virus causing colds due to a manufacturing anomaly. The designers of Sputnik V denounced in return a refusal of a “political” nature and threatened legal action for defamation. According to the Gamaleïa center, more than 20 million people worldwide have received the first dose of Sputnik V.