U.S. doctors briefed on Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19

Over one hundred doctors and medical workers from Maimonides Medical Center have expressed powerful interest in Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine at an online briefing, the first of its kind, with Russian scientists from the Gamaleya National Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology. All the medical professionals who took part in the briefing have had extensive practical experience of COVID-19 treatment in recent months.

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The Gamaleya Center scientists told the U.S. audience about the key stages of the development of Sputnik V, including the results of earlier clinical trials and the progress of an ongoing post-registration clinical trial. 

The scientists emphasized the advantages of the human adenoviral vector platform used in Sputnik V over untested technologies such as the monkey adenoviral vector platform or mRNA technology, which have not been studied for potential side effects such as impact on fertility or cancer risks over the long term.

They also told the U.S. doctors about the two-shot model using two different human adenoviral vectors, Ad5 and Ad26, for each shot, the Gamaleya Center’s own unique technology, which makes Sputnik V different from other vaccines based on human adenoviral vectors using only one type of adenoviral vector in a single-shot model.

On August 11, the Ministry of Health of Russia registered the Sputnik V vaccine developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and became the world’s first registered vaccine against COVID-19 based on the human adenoviral vectors platform.

On September 4, a research paper on the results of Phase I and Phase II clinical trials of the Sputnik V vaccine was published in The Lancet, one of the leading international medical journals, showing no serious adverse effects and a stable immune response in 100% of participants. Post-registration clinical trials of the Sputnik V vaccine involving 40,000 volunteers are ongoing. Over 60,000 volunteers have applied to take part in post-registration trials. They expect the first results of these trials to be published in October-November 2020.

Earlier, the Gamaleya Center in partnership with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) held a series of international briefings on Sputnik V for regulators and medical professionals in several regions, including Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa. Over 50 countries in CIS, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America have applied for Sputnik V. RDIF has previously announced supply agreements with Mexico for 32 million doses, with Brazil for up to 50 million doses, with India—100 million doses and with Uzbekistan for up to 35 million doses.

Dr Jacob Shani, Chair of the Heart and Vascular Center and the Department of Cardiology at Maimonides Medical Center, Professor of Medicine, said:

“We were very excited to hear from the two scientists about the  Sputnik V vaccine and were very impressed with the data the Gamaleya Center scientists presented. We read the publication in The Lancet journal and this publication was also very impressive. It showed good results of the Phase 1 and 2 trials, including the development of antibodies, cellular immunity and only minimal side effects. It was all very encouraging.  On a personal level we were impressed with the Gamaleya scientists. They were very professional, knowledgeable and most importantly, they appeared to be very transparent. They answered every question without hesitation.  If the vaccine performs as the data suggests, you have a very good vaccine on your hands. Obviously, time will tell if the vaccine is effective. So far we know that it produces antibodies, we know that it is safe. Now we need to know if it indeed protects from COVID-19. I personally asked the scientists a question if any of the people who were vaccinated got infected and the answer was no. I am very eager to learn about the results when a larger group of people will be vaccinated.”

Dr Alexander Gintsburg, Head of the Gamaleya National Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology:

“Our key mission is to provide timely and detailed information about the Sputnik V vaccine in a transparent manner for all interested parties. We were delighted to share this information with colleagues from Maimonides Medical Center, one of the most respected U.S. medical institutions directly involved in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. We also appreciated the professional, non-partisan approach by the U.S. doctors, who, just as their Russian colleagues, are tired of the pandemic and would like to see a working, effective and safe vaccine against COVID-19 as soon as possible. We regard international cooperation on the vaccine as key to a decisive victory over COVID-19 and will work towards this goal with our partner, the Russian Direct Investment Fund.”        

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