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Sans proper data Russian COVID-19 vaccine's efficacy, safety unknown: CCMB Chief

His remarks come in the backdrop of Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement that his country has developed the world's first vaccine against coronavirus.

August 12, 2020 / 04:30 PM IST

5 | India to get 100 million AstraZeneca's vaccine shots by December 2020, say Reports: With Covishield, the coronavirus vaccine candidate jointly developed by the University of Oxford and British firm AstraZeneca entering phase 3 trials, Serum Institute of India (SII) has started ramping up the production of the vaccine. The world's largest vaccine maker plans to have 100 million doses ready by December 2020 for an inoculation drive that could begin across India that same month, Bloomberg reported on November 13.


The efficacy and safety levels of the vaccine developed by Russia for treating COVID-19 patients is not predictable in the absence of data, a top official of the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology said on Wednesday.

His remarks come in the backdrop of Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement that his country has developed the world's first vaccine against coronavirus.

Director of CCMB, Rakesh K Mishra said if people are "lucky" then the Russian vaccine will work.

"Both efficacy and safety of the vaccine are still unknown. They haven't conducted proper trials, which is stage-III trials. That is when you get to know the efficacy, when it is tested on a large number of people and should wait for two months to see whether they get a viral infection or not. Doesn't look like they have carried out (large scale testings) because if you have done it, then show us the data. You cannot keep it confidential," Mishra told PTI.

He noted that the vaccine ought to be carefully evaluated before it goes to people and any country or company not releasing the data with respect to vaccine was bad.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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"It (Russian vaccine) is not safe.. normally in any country this should not be allowed unless the vaccine goes to stage 1, 2 and 3 trials. I think the Russian government passed a law recently, a couple of months back, that they have to fast track the vaccine preparation," the CCMB official said.

CCMB is India's premier research organisation centre. Asked about the progress of vaccines being developed by Indian pharmaceutical companies, Mishra said the data pertaining to Stage-I and II are yet to be published and it is expected that they may come by the end of August or first half of September.

"I will not be surprised if this first stage and second stage results are encouraging, because many vaccines have passed it. The real test is in stage-III," he pointed out.

The first dose of the vaccine-Sputnik-V, developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Russian Healthcare Ministrywas administered to Putin's daughter and she is stated to be 'feeling well.'

Putin has claimed that the vaccine has proven efficient during tests, offering a lasting immunity from the coronavirus.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
PTI
first published: Aug 12, 2020 01:35 pm

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