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Report of High Sputnik V Efficacy

A new study indicates Russia's Sputnik V vaccine is safe and effective against COVID-19, the Associated Press reports.

Russia approved the vaccine in August, which raised concerns as there was at the time limited data on its safety or efficacy. Initial testing then indicated the candidate vaccine could generate an immune response and then that it could have a high efficacy rate. Researchers from the Gamaleya Institute, which is developing the vaccine, announced in November that the Sputnik V vaccine had an efficacy rate of more than 95 percent. The vaccine includes two adenoviruses carrying the viral spike protein gene, given 21 days apart. 

In a new study posted as preprint at the Lancet, Gamaleya researchers now present interim results from their Phase 3 trial of nearly 22,000 people, about 16,000 of whom received the candidate vaccine and about 5,500 of whom received placebo. Overall, the researchers report the vaccine has a 91.6 percent efficacy rate against COVID-19.

"The development of the Sputnik V vaccine has been criticized for unseemly haste, corner cutting, and an absence of transparency," the University of Reading's Ian Jones and Polly Roy from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine write in a related commentary at the Lancet. "But the outcome reported here is clear and the scientific principle of vaccination is demonstrated, which means another vaccine can now join the fight to reduce the incidence of COVID-19."

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