Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Tuesday the development of the world’s “first” vaccine against the coronavirus. Called “Sputnik V”, it has yet to be tested on a large scale. WHO reacted with caution. “Sputnik V”: the name of the future Russian vaccine against the coronavirus recalls that of the first Soviet satellite launched in 1957.

President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday August 11 that this vaccine, the first in the world, is ready. He even claimed that his own daughter had tested him, successfully. A news that raises many questions and the caution of the World Health Organization.

closevolume_off President Vladimir Putin has announced that the “first” vaccine against the coronavirus is ready. – Photo AFP How does this vaccine work? This vaccine is said to be a “viral vector”, that is to say that it is based on another virus, here the adenovirus, transformed artificially, with the aim of combating the coronavirus. A method also selected by the English University of Oxford, according to Le Monde.

This project benefited from two months of clinical trials on humans, in particular on scientists who developed it. A particularly short protocol for setting up an effective vaccine. Is he really ready? A “regulatory development authorization” has been granted by the Russian Ministry of Health to a state research center in Moscow, the Nikolai Gamaleia Institute. However, this authorization from the Russian health authorities comes before the end of phase 3 of the design. Clearly, the vaccine has yet to be tested on several thousand people, which will be crucial to determine its effectiveness and safety (that is, the fact that it is not dangerous for the body).

This last phase will begin this Wednesday August 12th. So we cannot yet say technically that the vaccine is ready. This vaccine, called “Sputnik V”, is based on a modified adenovirus. – Photo AFP archives When will it be marketed? More than a billion doses have already been pre-ordered by 20 foreign countries, Russia announced, without specifying which ones. In the coming weeks, this vaccine could be inoculated to medical personnel and then to teachers, according to the Russian Ministry of Health. We do not know if these are the famous test groups mentioned above. Contradictory dates circulate for the continuation: certain Russian sources announce a massive vaccination as of October, while others evoke the date of January 1, 2021.

Is he really the first? According to the WHO, 26 vaccine candidates are in clinical trials (tested in humans) around the world and 139 are in the preclinical evaluation stage. Among the 26, six had reached phase 3 of their development at the end of July, ie the phase that will begin this Wednesday for this famous “Sputnik V”. For what immunity? The Russian Ministry of Health evokes a double inoculation of the vaccine which would allow “to form a long immunity” which can last “two years”. However, for the moment, no detailed study confirming the effectiveness of this vaccine candidate has been published. The World Health Organization reacted cautiously to this announcement, recalling that the “prequalification” and approval of a vaccine went through “rigorous” procedures. At the beginning of August, she had expressed her skepticism and recalled that any pharmaceutical product must “be subjected to all the different trials and tests before being approved”.

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