Russian COVID-19 vaccine shows promise
A new study shows that Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine may yet prove successful.
In an article published in the medical journal Lancet, Russian researchers found that the vaccine induced an antibody response and a response in T-cells, a type of white blood cell that helps fight infection. It did not cause any serious side effects.
The vaccine was tested in two Russian hospitals among 76 patients. The research has limitations, though. It was only tested on patients age 18-60, leaving open the question of whether it will work for the elderly, who are most at-risk of dying from COVID-19. The trial also did not use a placebo. And it had only male volunteers.
In August, the Russian government approved the vaccine before it went through Phase 3 trials, a move that prompted heavy criticism from health officials around the world.
"Russia has answered the questions that have been asked about it, Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which is supporting the vaccine, said on a conference call. "And we are convinced that we have the best vaccine in the world."
In the United States, President Trump has authorized "Operation Warp Speed," an initiative to deliver 300 million doses of a safe and effective vaccine by January. Some critics have accused the administration of putting politics over sound science.