Story at a glance

  • Researchers said an analysis of 20 confirmed coronavirus cases split between vaccinated participants and those who received the placebo suggested the vaccine had an efficacy rate of 92 percent following the second dose.
  • Officials said data from the study is set to be published in a leading medical journal after it has been peer-reviewed.
  • In August, Russia declared it was the first country in the world to gain regulatory approval for its COVID-19 vaccine, a move that was widely criticized as Sputnik V had not undergone crucial late-stage clinical trials that are essential to ensuring a vaccine is safe and effective.

Russia on Wednesday said its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine was 92 percent effective in protecting people against COVID-19, just days after Pfizer announced its own vaccine candidate appeared to have an efficacy rate above 90 percent. 

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the country’s sovereign wealth fund that is bankrolling Russia’s vaccine efforts, said the interim results were based on data from the first 16,000 participants of phase three clinical trials who received both shots of the two-dose vaccine. 


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Researchers said an analysis of 20 confirmed coronavirus cases split between vaccinated participants and those who received the placebo suggested the vaccine had an efficacy rate of 92 percent following the second dose. 

The large-scale clinical trial of 40,000 volunteers showed “no unexpected adverse events” and monitoring of participants is ongoing, RDIF said in a statement

Officials said data from the study is set to be published in a leading medical journal after it has been peer-reviewed. 

In August, Russia declared it was the first country in the world to gain regulatory approval for its COVID-19 vaccine, a move that was widely criticized as Sputnik V had not undergone crucial late-stage clinical trials that are essential to ensuring a vaccine is safe and effective. Since the vaccine was approved, Russia has inoculated more than 10,000 high-risk people including doctors and teachers outside phase three trials. 

“I assume there was political pressure after the press release from Pfizer and BioNTech earlier in the week to now draw level with their own data,” Bodo Plachter, deputy director of the Institute of Virology at the Mainz University, said according to Reuters. “What is missing for now is an analysis of statistical significance.”

Pfizer on Monday said early data showed its vaccine to be 90 percent effective and hopes to have safety data required for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) emergency use authorization by the third week of November. The pharmaceutical giant said it expects to deliver 50 million doses of its experimental vaccine before the end of the year and up to 1.3 billion in 2021. 


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Published on Nov 11, 2020