‘Really good news’: Vaccine expert hails trial results of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V published in Lancet

RT, 02.02.2021

Results of the Phase III clinical study of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus jab should dispel any skepticism and help the global fight against Covid-19, Dr. Hildegunt Ertl from the Wistar Institute for vaccine research told RT.

Trial results, published on Tuesday in the Lancet – the UK’s most prestigious medical journal – as a peer-reviewed study, show the vaccine is over 91 percent effective in all age groups, including the elderly most at risk of death from Covid-19, and 100 percent effective in preventing the severe cases of the disease.

“That’s really good news,” Dr. Ertl told RT from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “We want to stop people ending up in the hospital and dying, and [Sputnik V] clearly achieves that.”

Commenting on the study, the Lancet editors noted that any criticism of Sputnik V for “unseemly haste, corner cutting, and an absence of transparency” is now moot, because “the outcome reported here is clear and the scientific principle of vaccination is demonstrated,” clearing the Russian-made vaccine for the fight against Covid-19.

Dr. Ertl also thinks that skepticism about the vaccine was based on the early results from a very small initial trial. The Lancet published those results in September 2020, just over a month after Sputnik V was first registered. Now that they’ve been confirmed by the Phase III study, “I think the criticism should subside,” the researcher told RT.

Sputnik V can also be stored for months in ordinary refrigerators, while the other vaccines with similar effectiveness require extreme cold storage, which makes them “close to impossible to distribute in less developed countries,” the German-born researcher noted. Other vaccines are also more expensive, whereas Sputnik V costs about $10.

“That’s really crucial right now, for we are facing globally distribution issues, which need to be addressed, and Sputnik will help there,” Dr. Ertl said. She also expressed hope that the world could put politics aside and have as many manufacturers around the world produce as many doses of effective vaccines as possible, in order to end the pandemic.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which sponsored the development of Sputnik V, has already reached out to the pharmaceutical industries in several countries in Asia and Latin America, hoping to establish partnerships to produce the vaccine locally.

The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia specializes in cancer, immunology and infectious disease research. Dr. Ertl has worked there since 1987, becoming a full professor in 1996. She also teaches at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.