Friday, September 4, 2020

Russian coronavirus vaccine results have been published – here’s what they reveal

RDIF handout/EPA

By Anne Moore

President Vladimir Putin recently announced that a team of Russian scientists had developed a COVID-19 vaccine and that it had been approved for use by the regulators – at least, in Russia.

However, the announcement caused consternation among scientists and clinicians in the rest of the world as human trials for the vaccine – nicknamed Sputnik V – had only started a couple of months before Putin’s announcement.

The results of the phase one and two human trials of this vaccine have just been published in The Lancet. So what have we learned?

First, let’s look at what type of vaccine this is. The vaccine “platform” used in this study used adenoviruses. These common cold viruses, called Ad5 and Ad26, are made safe and are incapable of growing in the body. They only function to deliver the genetic code of one of the novel coronavirus proteins, called the spike protein, into a cell.

By injecting people with these modified adenoviruses, the immune system is stimulated to respond to the spike protein at the time of immunisation, and hopefully to respond for many years in the future, if the immunised person is exposed to the COVID-causing coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2.  Read more >>