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Russia Claims Its Coronavirus Vaccine Is 92% Effective Days After Pfizer’s 90% Revelation

Saman Javed

| Last updated 

Russia Claims Its Coronavirus Vaccine Is 92% Effective Days After Pfizer's 90% RevelationPA Images

New data published today claims that Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is more effective than Pfizer’s, but the analysis is based on a smaller number of coronavirus cases.

The news comes just two days after developers at Pfizer and Biontech said their vaccine has more than a 90% efficacy in preventing COVID-19.


Announced via the Russian Direct Investment Fund website, the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation (Gamaleya Center) said its findings are based on a trial of over 16,000 volunteers who received either shots of the two-dose Sputnik V vaccine, or a placebo.

Of these 16,000, there were 20 confirmed cases of coronavirus 21 days after the first shot. The Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation said the case split in these people between who was vaccinated, and those who were given a placebo, shows that the vaccine is 92% efficient.

PA Images

Mikhail Murashko, the Minister of Health of the Russian Federation described Sputnik V as an ‘efficient solution’:


The use of the vaccine and the results of clinical trials demonstrate that it is an efficient solution to stop the spread of coronavirus infection, а preventive healthcare tool, and this is the most successful path to defeat the pandemic.

While the very first registration of a COVID-19 vaccine was done in Russia on the August 11, some experts have asked for more clarity on the new development.

Dr Gillies O’Bryan-Tear, Chair of Policy and Communications at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine raised concern that the findings are based on just 20 cases of coronavirus, as opposed to Pfizer’s data which is based on 94.

Additionally, he said that Russia had not provided information on its protocols for collecting the data:


Interim analyses are commonly performed in clinical trials, but in order to protect statistical rigour, they should be pre-planned prior to the analysis of the results. The Gameleya centre did not provide the protocol so we do not know if this interim analysis was pre-planned, but in view of its small size, I would assume not.Experts also weighed in on the timing of the announcement.

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Eleanor Riley, a Professor of Immunology and Infectious Disease at the University of Edinburgh, said she worries that the data may have been rushed out on the back of Pfizer’s earlier announcement.

Riley said:


This is not a competition. We need all trials to be a carried out to the highest possible standards … anything less than this risks a public loss of trust in all vaccines, which would be a disaster.

In its announcement, Russia said the safety of its vaccine is constantly being monitored and the observation of the trial’s participants will continue for six months before it presents a final report.

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Topics: News, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Now, Russia, vaccine


Science Media Centre and 1 other
  1. Science Media Centre

    expert reaction to announcement of interim data analysis of the phase 3 Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine trial

  2. Russian Direct Investment Fund

    The first interim data analysis of the Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 phase III clinical trials in the Russian Federation demonstrated 92% efficacy

Saman Javed
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