Positive Results from Peer Review of Russian COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate

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The COVID-19 Vaccine developed by Russia that was heavily scrutinized earlier this year has now seen positive results in a peer review.

Like other vaccine candidates the vaccine has produced a response in T cells.  Russian scientists made claims that this was the case before any review by outside researchers. With this news, Russia is now firmly seated in the race with the US, China, and Europe to secure a vaccine.

The Russian researches used both a frozen and a freeze-dried version of the vaccine for their studies. 

In phase 1 of the trials, participants were given one of the two-part shots.  Antibody responses were only present in 61% of the participants in this phase.  Phase 2 participates received the initial first shit, but also a second shot 21 days after the first.  All of the 40 participants had higher levels of antibody responses, and all of the phase 2 participants showed T cell responses.

While there are some limitations to the study – notably the size, the lack of placebo, the short time in between testing, and the fact that they only used male volunteers mostly in their 20s and 30s – this is still very good news for the two-shot system for the vaccine candidate. 

Because of the limitations this study had, a phase 3 trial was approved for 40,000 volunteers from different age and risk groups.  This is a crucial step for the vaccine candidate.  Naor Bar-Zeev, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said “Showing safety will be crucial with Covid-19 vaccines, not only for vaccine acceptance but also for trust in vaccination broadly.”

According to Russian officials, the vaccine has been administered to prominent people outside of the trials for months now.  Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said he had the shot and had no serious side effects.  This news coming a month after Putin said his own daughter had taken the shot and was feeling fine. 

Be sure to check back frequently for updates to the Covid-19 Vaccine race.

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