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Russia says vaccine candidate is 95 percent effective, will sell for $10 internationally

Russia says vaccine candidate is 95 percent effective, will sell for $10 internationally
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Russia on Tuesday said its COVID-19 vaccine candidate Sputnik V has an efficacy over 95 percent, adding that it would cost less than $10 a dose in international markets.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) announced the price tag for its near-ready vaccine around the same time British vaccine creators from Oxford University and AstraZeneca said their version was 70 percent effective, up to 90 percent if dosages are adjusted, The Washington Post reported.

The Sputnik V vaccine candidate, named after Russia's first satellite, became the first vaccine in the world to be registered, in August.

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Russia's decision was controversial as the vaccine had not been thoroughly tested at the time, though it is now undergoing late-stage testing with around 40,000 volunteer participants.

Last week, American vaccine maker Pfizer — the vaccine candidate developed by which has an efficacy of over 95 percent — filed for emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and a similar viable candidate from Moderna is slated to be submitted for approval next month.

RDIF said the vaccine would be free for Russians, and the rollout of dosages would start in 2021. For anyone outside the country, the two-shot dose will cost around $20.

Russian officials also claimed its vaccine candidate has greater efficacy than the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine due to the country's proprietary technology, which it offered to share with British vaccine developers.

“Sputnik shows very high effectiveness, higher than 95 percent,” Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the RDIF, said during a briefing on Tuesday, according to The Guardian. “This is indisputably positive news not just for Russia, but for the entire world, for all countries."

Production of the Sputnik V vaccine will commence in Hungary, Brazil, South Korea, India and China. The RDIF added it has provisional orders from around 50 countries for 1.2 billion doses within the next year.

In preliminary testing trials, RDIF said the vaccine showed a 95 percent efficacy rate, despite some volunteers reporting flu-like side effects including fatigue and headache, as well as pain at the injection point.

A review of full trial results will be published at the end of the phase 3 trial, RDIF said.