Comment: This is important because the experimental and unproven Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have little to no data on the efficacy for the at risk age groups.
Data from 19,866 volunteers - 4,902 of whom were in the placebo group - showed that Sputnik V had an overall efficacy of 91.6 percent, rising to 91.8 percent among the group of 2,144 volunteers over the age of 60, according to the interim results of the Phase III clinical trial published in the Lancet on Tuesday.
At the end of the study, there were 62 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the placebo group and only 16 in the vaccine group. Sputnik V proved to be 100 percent effective in preventing the development of severe cases.
"The data published by The Lancet proves that not only Sputnik V is the world's first registered vaccine, but also one of the best," Kirill Dmitriev, the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which sponsored the vaccine's development, said. He added that Sputnik V also outperforms other vaccines in terms of price and ease of transportation and storage, calling it "a vaccine for all mankind."
While the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require very low temperatures - between -70C and -20C - Sputnik V can be stored at 2-8 degrees Celsius without spoiling. The Russian-made vaccine also relies on two different adenovirus vectors - genetically modified flu viruses that cannot reproduce in the human body - which generate a more effective defense compared to other vaccines using the same vector for both shots.
"This vaccine appears to be highly efficacious and immunogenic across age groups," said Cecil Czerkinsky, research director from the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research. He pointed out that the dual formulation vaccine is comparatively easy to manufacture and deploy, something that is very helpful amid the anticipated global shortages and logistical issues with vaccine rollouts.
For Professor Hildegund Ertl from The Wistar Institute in the US, "the most crucial parameter" of the jab is that it is 100 percent effective in preventing serious disease or death.
Sputnik V is the world's first Covid-19 vaccine, registered in August 2020. It is one of only four vaccines in the world whose Phase III clinical trial results have been published in leading peer-reviewed medical journals.
"The development of the Sputnik V vaccine has been criticised for unseemly haste, corner cutting, and an absence of transparency," the Lancet comment following the article suggests. "But the outcome reported here is clear and the scientific principle of vaccination is demonstrated, which means another vaccine can now join the fight to reduce the incidence of COVID-19."
Actually, Sputnik V is already in the fight. Apart from Russia, 15 other countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa have already approved the vaccine.