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High Numbers Reported for Russian Vaccine

Russia has announced that its candidate vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 has exhibited an efficacy rate exceeding 95 percent in an initial analysis of its clinical trial data, the Financial Times reports.

Russia approved the Sputnik-V vaccine in August, even though it had not yet undergone phase III testing, leading some scientists to be concerned that the decision was premature. Initial data then suggested that the vaccine could generate an immune response, and some data from a late-stage trial suggested a high efficacy.

According to FT, the Gamaleya Institute, which is developing the vaccine, has now reported that data from about 19,000 trial participants suggests the Sputnik-V vaccine had an efficacy of 91.4 percent 28 days after the participants received the first dose and had efficacy of more than 95 percent after 42 days. The institute further said the initial analysis would be published in a peer-reviewed journal in December, FT says.

The Guardian notes that this efficacy rate for Sputnik-V is similar to or exceeds those reported for vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca/Oxford University. It adds some are skeptical of the reported numbers because of the Russian government's involvement in vaccine development and trials. CNN adds that while President Vladimir Putin's daughter has received the vaccine, Putin has not. A Kremlin spokesperson says, it adds, that Putin "cannot use an uncertified vaccine."