This would mean that Sputnik V is “cheaper than mRNA vaccines with similar levels of efficacy,” the institute said, referring to candidates Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna.
If these claims are true, it would place Russia’s vaccine candidate in a unique position compared to other promising vaccines. The Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna candidates are also over 90% efficient, but they use a completely new formula of mRNA that will need to be stored under sub-zero conditions.
The AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine has been shown to have similar effectiveness, but it can be stored in standard refrigerators, reducing costs. Sputnik V uses the same viral vector technique, allowing it to be stored under similar conditions, the Russian institute said.
Russia’s announcement in August that it had found a vaccine candidate shocked and excited the world, but quickly sparked criticism and transparency concerns.
Despite Tuesday’s findings, independent researchers have expressed apprehension.
Ian Jones, of the University of Reading, said that “the dose of Sputnik […] is double the full dose of Oxford but does not appear to have had any inhibition problems. What exactly is the ideal dose for these adenovirus vector vaccines is therefore somewhat uncertain.