Can Russia Implement the First COVID-19 Vaccine?

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Our enemy, COVID-19

Christopher Shank, Writer

Well… it finally happened; there are reports that Russia has developed the first Covid-19 vaccine. It’s name is Sputnik V after their pioneering satellite and it was registered by the Russian Ministry of Health on August 11th.

The vaccine itself is an adenoviral vector based vaccine which in layman terms means that it works by using viruses called vectors. These vectors are described as “vehicles, which can induce a genetic material from another virus into a cell” as stated by the Sputnik V home page. They also state that this is accomplished by “the gene from adenovirus, which causes the infection is removed, while the gene with the code of a protein from another virus spike is inserted.” In summary, it works by using a non harmful adenovirus virus that had been stripped of its reproductive ability and was given a protein of the Covid-19 virus to start antibody production.

The vaccine is also different from normal vaccines as there are two main stages of Sputnik V as the first wave of the vaccine is to start the initial production of the antibodies while the second is to ensure long lasting immunity. However, is it safe and effective as the Sputnik V scientists say? According to them it is, with lengthy lists of case studies and articles that support using adenovirus vectors to produce vaccines  are safe. It is also supported with the first and second clinical trials completed as of August 1st with the results described as “All the volunteers are feeling well, no unforeseen or unwanted side effects were observed. The vaccine induced strong antibody and cellular immune response. Not a single participant of the current clinical trials got infected with COVID-19 after being administered with the vaccine.”

Despite this information there is major skepticism as the first major test is set for August 24th which involves 40,000 people and the majority of the vaccine’s effects of the first two clinical trials are only described on the sputnik home page. Like anything in this weird time we live in, all we can do is wait and see.