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Professor lauds Russian scientists who created successful vaccine in record time

The publication of the results of Phase Three of the Sputnik V clinical trials by The Lancet journal is good news showing that Russian scientists have managed to create a successful vaccine against coronavirus in record time, Professor at the University of North Carolina and Moscow State University (MSU) Alexander Kabanov told TASS.

"This is important news about Sputnik V - it's a great joy to know that Russia is among the countries that have independently created a successful vaccine against coronavirus in record time. My congratulations on this outstanding achievement go to Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Denis Logunov and the entire team of developers, as well as to all those who were behind organizing and implementing this work," Kabanov emphasized.

The vaccine's 91% rate of effectiveness is quite an encouraging result that can be compared to those of the world's best vaccines such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which are based on an absolutely different principle, the expert noted.

Kabanov shined the spotlight on the other features of the Russian jab, which outperformed some of its rivals. "This is also very good that the protection built during the vaccination with Sputnik V is seen early - three weeks after the first dose there is a reduction in the incidence of the disease. Furthermore, it's rather easy to store the Russian vaccine and shipping it by using regular freezers is a big plus given the conditions in Russia and other countries, where hospitals don't have or may lack deep freezers. This is a clear advantage of the Russian vaccine along with America's Moderna compared to Pfizer-BioNTech," he noted.

According to the scientist, when combating the coronavirus "it's necessary to have in stock not just one coronavirus vaccine but several different vaccines as far as the principle of effectiveness goes." It's unclear now how the current jabs by various producers will work over a longer period of time. "In particular, how long the developed immunity will last and whether it's possible to take the vaccine for the second time," he explained. "Apart from that, the virus evovles and as a result, new strains emerge and the vaccines could be less effective against them. Some jabs could work better and some of them could be more easily fine-tuned in order to stop new virus strains," the specialist stressed.

Pace of vaccination drive

According to Kabanov, "now vaccine producers and national healthcare systems are facing the task of producing enough vaccine doses and delivering them to the regions to immunize citizens." However, this is happening "at a slower pace than we wish."

"We need to also overcome skepticism by those who are unwilling to vaccinate themselves and their relatives," the expert said, noting that an awareness-building campaign should be carried out.

In a recent statement, more than 100 leading scientists hailing from Russia emphasized that international cooperation was needed in the field of science and healthcare, he recalled, stressing that "the pandemic is a global problem and only collectively can we tackle it."

Earlier, The Lancet published the results of the Phase Three clinical trials of the Russian jab according to which it is one of the safest and most effective ones worldwide. The efficiency of the vaccine amounted to 91.6%, and among volunteers aged over 60 it came to 91.8%. Antibodies to coronavirus after taking the Sputnik V jab were detected in 98% of volunteers.

[Source: Tass, Washington, 03Feb21]

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