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Russia claims its COVID-19 vaccine is 92% effective

Jill Petzinger
·Germany Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
·2-min read

Watch: Sputnik vaccine is 92% effective, says Russia

Russia has claimed that its COVID-19 vaccine, named Sputnik V, is 92% effective at preventing people from contracting the coronavirus, Reuters reports.

Russia has been working on a vaccine for months, and announced it had developed the “world’s first” vaccine on 11 August, with Russian president Vladimir Putin telling state television that “I know that it works quite effectively, it forms a stable immunity.”

Putin said at the time that one of his daughters had taken the vaccine, and developed a slightly higher temperature after each dose, but “now feels well.”

Today, Reuters reports that the Russia Direct Investment Fund, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, made the claim of 92% effectiveness based on data from the first 16,000 participants in a trial in September. Participants, it said, had received two doses of the Sputnik V vaccine.

“We are showing, based on the data, that we have a very effective vaccine,” RDIF boss Kirill Dmitriev said. Developed by the Gamaleya Institute, the Russian vaccine is now in large-scale trials in Moscow.

On Monday this week, Germany’s BioNTech (BNTX) and its partner Pfizer (PFE) announced that their COVID-19 vaccine had achieved an effectiveness rate of over 90% based on interim data from their phase 3 trial of almost 44,000 people.

Widespread government purchasing of coronavirus vaccines may ultimately lower their price in the United States. (Getty Images)
Russia's vaccine announcement comes two days after the Pfizer-BioNTech news of a 90% effective vaccine. Photo: Getty Images

The news sparked a massive rally on the stock markets this week. Reuters reported that $2tn changed hands on global stock markets on Monday. The rally is not abating: European markets opened higher again on Wednesday, teeing up a third straight day of gains.

READ MORE: Vaccine rally continues for stock markets as trillions change hands

Pfizer has already submitted for regulatory approval with the European, UK, and Canadian drug approval authorities, and is planning to submit an early-use authorisation to the FDA as early as the third week of November. They have also started clinical trials in Japan and China.

READ MORE: BioNTech chief on COVID-19 vaccine results: 'An important step for the world'

Germany’s health minister Jens Spahn said in August that he was sceptical about Russia’s “world’s first” claim, saying: “the problem is, we know very little because the Russian authorities are not very transparent.”

The World Health Organisation said in August that it had contacted Russian authorities about the correct international standards for testing its vaccine.

READ MORE: BioNTech: The German company behind the potential first COVID-19 vaccine

Other medical companies working on vaccines include AstraZeneca (AZN.L) with the University of Oxford, US-based Moderna (MRNA), Novavax (NVAX), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), and Germany’s CureVac (CVAC).

Watch: 'Vaccine by Christmas' predicts Deputy Chief Medical Officer