Is Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine a reality?

Boktiba Jamir
Lengrijan, Dimapur

This is the best news that we could ever hear in 2020! Russia’s Sputnik V, the first ever COVID-19 vaccine. However, it is going to be a subject of huge debates and opinions. 

A vaccine has never been developed against a Corona Virus, be it for SARS (2003) or MERS (2012).The average past vaccine development period in the world is approx ten years and the fastest vaccine developed to date has been for mumps (1967), and that took four years. Vaccines normally require years of testing, trial, research, review and additional time to produce at large scale.

Researchers around the world are racing to develop a vaccine against Covid-19, with more than 140 vaccines now tracked by the World Health Organization (WHO). Statistically, only about 6% of vaccine researches ever make it through to market.

There is a hypothesis that Russian and Chinese Vaccines even if they develop may not be globally accepted. It is said that these countries do not follow all safety protocols and regulatory clearance. Moreover, their research development is not as transparent as the Western, European countries or India for that matter.

Different phases of vaccine development are roughly clinical research, Phase I, II, III and Approval.

Even after the final approval (fully proven safe) to administer in small dose, researchers have to observe and closely monitor the human immune response for months (or even years) to finally approve for huge production and mass vaccination. In addition, recovered patients after vaccination need to expose to the virus and check the ability of immunity and how long the antibodies last.

With any new disease, especially one that is proving to be as complex as COVID-19, we will have to move very carefully. 

Nevertheless, never in the history of any virus or disease has such an intense global effort been focused as on the case of COVID-19 vaccine. Hopefully, the Russia’s Sputnik V delivers and proves to be effective.