Russian COVID-19 Vaccine Appears To Work, Showing Success In Early Trials

A person holds vials of COVID-19 testing liquid.
Jes Aznar / Getty Images

A vaccine for the novel coronavirus developed by Russia has just successfully passed its first trial.

According to The Lancet, data released on Friday showed preliminary trials for the medication produced a successful immune response in participants without any adverse side effects.

The new research comes just weeks after the Russian Federation announced it had created a vaccine for the coronavirus. At the time, experts greeted the announcement with skepticism — especially since many scientists believed there was not enough data on the medication’s safety or effectiveness to warrant the bulletin.

For example, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was one such expert who voiced his concerns about the likelihood of the Russian vaccine’s success.

However, the new study — conducted from June 18 to August 3 — has brought renewed interest to the vaccine candidate, developed by Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology.

In the trial, 76 patients aged between 18 and 60 were injected with the medication. Two different versions of the vaccine were used, with 36 participants receiving one or the other. The other 40 patients received both. According to scientists, both versions were proven to be effective.

“Both vaccine formulations were safe and well tolerated,” the researchers concluded.

The side effects of the vaccine were mild and included symptoms such as headache, pain at the injection site, and muscle aches.

All individuals in the trial were monitored for 28 days and will continue to be followed up with for the next 180 days.

“Similar to… studies before it, Logunov and colleagues’ studies are encouraging but small. The immunogenicity bodes well,” wrote Naor Bar-Zeev and Tom Inglesby in a release also published on The Lancet.

A lab technician holds a culture test during a visit to the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research at Victoria University on August 27, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand.
  Hagen Hopkins / Getty Images

Bar-Zeev and Inglesby noted a number of potential vaccines are currently in the pipeline.

“Each of their successes will together lead us towards our collective, longed for, new day,” they concluded.

That said, there are still some concerns about the potential Russian vaccine. One reason is the data did not use a control group, which is normally a necessary component to any scientific process. In addition, the levels of antibodies produced in the participants was lower than that of those who were injected with other vaccine candidates, such as recent offerings from Oxford and Moderna.

However, doctors have noted the levels of antibodies are around those that are naturally produced in the body by individuals who have been infected and recovered from COVID-19.

As was previously reported by The Inquisitr, Fauci noted earlier this month that a COVID-19 vaccine could potentially be available “sooner than expected,” should clinical trials continue to go well.