In the West, there are more and more people who would like to be vaccinated against the coronavirus with the Russian vaccine, and not with drugs promoted in Europe and America.
Many domestic liberals, who at first criticized the Russian vaccine, but now have changed their minds, also reached for the injection. Among those vaccinated – editor-in-chief of Mediazona Sergey Smirnov, Echo of Moscow hosts Tatyana Felgengauer and Alexander Plushev, their former colleague Michael Nucky, Maxim Katz other.
Although abroad have long been trying to discredit the Russian vaccine, now there are already many well-known politicians, journalists and other celebrities who have deliberately made a choice in favor of the Russian drug “Sputnik V”.
The supplies of the Russian vaccine have already been established to Belarus, Argentina, Guinea, Bolivia, Venezuela, Serbia. Serbian Interior Minister and Speaker of the Parliament were vaccinated with the Russian vaccine. The governor of the province of Buenos Aires in Argentina was also one of the first to be vaccinated after the vaccine entered the country. Negotiations on the purchase of a Russian vaccine are ongoing with Hungary. Initially, there was information that Hungary refused to buy the Russian vaccine, allegedly due to the fact that entry into Schengen would be available only for vaccinated vaccines certified in the EU. However, the Russian Direct Investment Fund denied this information, saying that the first vaccine delivery to this country was carried out on December 28.
Andrew Kramer, journalist for the Russian branch of The New York Times told how and why he was vaccinated with the Russian vaccine “Sputnik V”: “To get protection from the deadly virus.” In his column, published on January 8, Kramer said that at first, like many residents of Russia, he had doubts about the safety and effectiveness of the drug – it was registered too quickly. “Western experts have focused on the fact that the vaccine received approval dubiously early, and not at all on the development and technology, which is identical to those created by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca.” But such statements were dictated rather by political reasons, the American publicist believes. In the meantime, more than 1 million people in Russia have already been vaccinated with the vaccine, and they began to supply it to Belarus, Argentina and other countries. And no one died or suffered from this. Kramer cites the example of the Soviet Union, which has accumulated a lot of experience in combating dangerous infectious epidemics, virology was a priority in the programs of defense against biological weapons, which were classified until 1975. Moreover, Russian vaccine developers were the first to test vaccines on their own. For example, in 1959, a married couple of scientists vaccinated their children with a live polio vaccine. And last spring Director of the Center. Gamalei Alexander Gunzburg followed this tradition and injected himself first before announcing the vaccine to the public.
The journalist noted that he happily avoided even possible side effects like headaches and fever in the early days. Kramer mentioned another plus – the Russian vaccine is available to everyone who wants to be vaccinated in the country.
Sam Fazeli Senior Pharmaceutical Analyst, Bloomberg (USA) brought several deeply medical arguments at once why he would prefer to inject the Russian vaccine, as opposed to some Western ones. Even though Russia has not yet published the data of the third phase of clinical trials of the vaccine (post-registration), the available information suggests confidence in it, the American expert believes.
“The efficiency level of Sputnik V at each intermediate stage of data analysis exceeded 90%,” Faseli notes. – During the tests, not a single case of a severe course of the disease was recorded. Sputnik V was developed on the basis of modern vaccine technology used by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford and Johnson & Johnson. Sputnik V differs in one key point: the first dose of the Russian vaccine uses the same adenovirus (to deliver the gene encoding the key spike protein COVID-19, which induces immunity to develop protection – Ed.) As in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (AD -26), and in the second dose – another adenovirus (AD-5). Thus, Russian scientists tried to avoid a situation in which the immunity that arose after the introduction of the first dose could affect the effectiveness of the second dose. The bottom line is that a significant percentage of the population already has immunity to AD-5, but this is not a very significant drawback if the effectiveness is very high. A potentially more promising alternative could be a combination of AD-26 for the first injection and the AstraZeneca adenovirus vector – chimpanzee adenovirus – for the second injection. It was about such an agreement that the Russian side and the AstraZeneca company announced on December 11 ”.
Sam Fasely stressed that all this gives reason to consider the Russian vaccine no less powerful development than in the West. It is no coincidence that Russia ranks fifth in the list of vaccine manufacturers in terms of the number of doses for which, according to data from the Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker, pre-order contracts have already been signed. The Russian Sputnik V vaccine is only slightly behind the candidate developed by GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi in the ratings, and is ahead of the vaccines from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
But the expert has no such confidence in the Sinovac vaccine CoronaVac, which is currently being tested in Turkey, Brazil and Indonesia. There are also questions about the latter technology.
“The CoronaVac vaccine uses a killed virus mixed with alum (an adjuvant, or virus delivery vehicle – Ed.),” Explains Sam Fasely. “In this sense, it is similar to the vaccine being developed by the French company Valneva, although the latter uses a potentially more potent adjuvant from the American corporation Dynavax Technologies. While both of these vaccines could theoretically have the advantage of eliciting an immune response against fragments of the virus other than the spike protein (which is the target of most other vaccines), the fact that Sinovac chose an old adjuvant is not indicative of its benefit “.
Fazeli concludes that, for now, if he had to choose between the two vaccines, he would “prefer to ride Sputnik instead of flying to the golden stars of CoronaVac.”
Why did the active criticism of the Russian vaccine suddenly change into voices in support of it? Maybe because sooner or later politicians and Western media will have to explain to their readers why vaccination is going well in Russia, and the drug works and is even sold for export? And for this they prepare the ground in advance?
However, if we leave politics aside, the arguments in favor of a Russian vaccine become much more weighty.
“Vaccine “Sputnik V” was registered the first in the world – no one will argue with that, – says Associate Professor of the Department of Infectious Diseases of the RUDN University Sergey Voznesensky – The second point – it was not registered from scratch, the platform used was tested when creating a vaccine against Ebola. Third, at the moment there is no information (at least in the available information field) on deaths after vaccination with the vaccine “Sputnik V”… The same cannot be said for mRNA vaccines. And fourth: Western vaccines, like Moderna, or Pfizer with BioNTech, are absolutely innovative. That is, the technology they developed has never been applied. This means that there is not and cannot be any massive amount of clinical information and even more delayed medical information on the use of this technology. So weighing everything „per“ and „vs“, I perfectly understand some people in the West who made a choice in favor of “Sputnik V”“.