Russia announced last month that a vaccine called Sputnik V, in honor of a Soviet satellite that was first launched into space in 1957, has already received approval. This has raised concerns among Western scientists about the lack of data on the safety of the drug. Scientists warn that giving a vaccine too quickly can be dangerous.
The medical journal Lancet said on Thursday that it had asked for clarification from the authors of a study on a potential Russian vaccine against COVID-19 after their work had been rigorously screened. Russian scientists said the vaccine was “safe and well tolerated” by several dozen volunteers. Independent experts confirmed their claims.
However, an open letter signed by more than 30 European experts challenged the findings, pointing out “potential data inconsistencies.”
There are a number of duplicated numbers in the study, they said. Scientists have concluded that the data is unlikely to be correct.
Microbiologist and lead author of the vaccine study, Denis Logunov, said he rejected the letter’s claims. He noted that all data are accurate and reliable.
The pandemic has led to an unprecedented mobilization of funding and research to create a vaccine. Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca said this week that it is ending phase 3 trials of its candidate vaccine after one volunteer falls ill.