Professor Peter Doherty (Australia) about vaccine
Indeed, to date, little information is available about the COVID-19 vaccine registered in Russia. Based on what is already known, Professor Doherty shared his vision and opinion on this vaccine. The Sputnik-V vaccine is based on an adenoviral vector, the use of which has long established itself as an effective basis for a vaccine against viruses. The professor explains that this type of vaccine is based on 2 types of modified human adenovirus, which generally cause a respond of the human immune system, but they are not able to transform into a new virus. As it is a modified adenovirus, when entering the body, the virus does not multiply, but produces a new protein, which, in fact, is the vaccine itself. Thus, this approach makes it possible not to produce the vaccine in laboratories in a test tube, but the human body becomes the place of vaccine’s production. AD-5 and AD-26 - two types of adenoviruses used to "deliver" the virus itself to the human body, they cause a reaction of the immune system, but due to the characteristics of their structure, there is no cross reaction of them. Proteins produced during the penetration of one type of adenovirus will not kill the second type of adenovirus and proteins produced after its penetration. This is in general called the immune response of the human body. Based on some media reports, the new Russian vaccine generates resistant antibodies and a T-cell response, says the Australian professor, which is undoubtedly a good sign. Based on this, Professor Doherty considers the strategy of this vaccine to be absolutely normal and correct. There are also reports on media that Venezuela and the countries of the former USSR are already applying for the purchase of this vaccine. However, so far, there is not yet any precise and complete information on this vaccine available. It yet remains to be discovered the action of this vaccine on the human body in society, in a normal environment, and not in laboratory conditions. There is a lot of different sort of information, again on media, that the third phase of trials of this vaccine will be carried out in Venezuela or by mass vaccination of the population of Russia - we do not know for sure, but everyone will follow the situation with impatience and interest in the hope of positive results. Perhaps, in this case, Russia will win this "race", in fact, which does not exist and should not be. It's just that the whole world is waiting for a lifesaver in the form of a vaccine against COVID-19. Russian virologists, notes the professor at the University of Melbourne, have been known for an excellent professional reputation for a very long time, so Peter Doherty believes that there is no serious reason to doubt the success of this vaccine. Since this method of developing a vaccine has been successfully used for many years in practice, the professor assures that there is no significant reason to doubt the safety of this vaccine. What really needs to be explored in the case of coronavirus vaccines is the possibility that an injection of the vaccine could trigger a worsening of the disease. This concern is based on testing a vaccine against the original coronavirus, SARS-1, conducted in 2002-2003 on monkeys in Asia. The test results suggested that the vaccine could make the disease worse in some monkeys. However, while no such reactions are known during testing of vaccines for COVID-19 in our time on animals, the professor suggests that such negative reactions in the past could be caused by imperfections in vaccine formulas. Regardless, this aspect has yet to be examined during the use of the vaccine in humans in a real-life environment - the third phase of the trial and research of a new vaccine. As for the question about the possibilities of different effects of the vaccine on people of people of different age, the Australian scientist says that this also remains to be studied by scientists. What is known by today that, in general, elderly people form a quite strong immune response to infection with this virus, perhaps this is due to the fact that the elderly body influences less on the infection with the virus. However, Professor Doherty suggests that despite the fact that a fairly stable immune response appears, it takes a long time to develop it and this may be a concerning problem, since the immunity respond is important exactly at the moment of infection. Some institutes which develop a vaccine run test on people of different age groups, but many do not. The professor at the University of Melbourne is nevertheless believes that there is a need to test the effect of the vaccine on different age groups. This will allow at the early stages of vaccine development to identify possible features of its use for different people. For example, elderly people may need an additional dose of the vaccine or the composition of the vaccine for them should be changed. However, all this remains unknown until all the necessary and possible tests are carried out.
“The most important stadium of clinical research study of the vaccine – the third phase has not been provided yet by Russia”, - professor Polly Roy from Great Britain said during her phone interview:
Russians use 2 different adenovirus as a vector, which will deliver immune protein SARS-2. They will inject 2 dozes of the vaccine. Both of them were worked out by the Chinese company Jenson-Jenson and Jonson&Jonson in the Netherlands, i. e. each company has worked out a brand, so called “5-adenovirus”, which is already known. So Russians have invented nothing, they have used is simple, having made 2 dozes. However, they are testing and it is worth mentioning, that adenovirus has never given reaction of the immune bodies until nowadays, but the most important stadium of the clinical research study – the third phase, which has not been provided by Russians.
The testing should have been done in big quantity of people – “blindly”, among different age, sex, in order to involve the representative of absolutely different groups, - Russians have not done that! Although the other scientists and formulators are dealing with it now. That is, the testing of the Russian vaccine were provided among very circumscribed group: only 38 people participated in the testing. Russian have published nothing about – the certain results, the neutralizing antibodies having worked out, the type of screening – nothing!!! And that is a big trouble! Of course, there will be a screening, but how good is it going to be for everyone – if Russian vaccinate plenty of people from different age groups, with low immunity – what can happen to them? We do not know anything, nothing is published. That is why Russian want “to jump over the queue” to do it, and it is the trouble, which bother everyone. Russians are quite clever, they gather information from other people, researchers, formulators, who are currently dealing with the research studies step by step, following the international rules, and then they will combine it, and that will be all the Russians will have done. Russian just want to be the first to proclaim to have been done everything. I am absolutely sure, that the Russian vaccine will provide any screening, but if Russians are able to make so many dozes, we do not know, there is no evidence till now. Nothing is published yet. That is why it is the main trouble now. That is why everyone is upset about it. I do not deal with the adenovirus, I make vaccines of another type, absolutely another type, absolutely safe. But here they use human virus, human adenovirus to receive SARS COVID-2 S-protein, there is nothing “clever” in it, nothing “fantastic” – it has been all done many-many times before, even to supply the genes people did it. Russians just want to make a sensation, a resounding statement in the political goals or I do not know in which else. But still there is no information, no actual information available, which they should publish. The question is why they do not do it… Concerning the opportunity to invent the vaccine, while the virus is changing constantly – of course, it is possible to invent the vaccine from COVID, as the virus is not changing a lot. As for today, there is great amount of vaccines made, but everyone must take testing of the 3-rd phase to be sure that it can be used by people, as it is provided not for animals nevertheless. It is important to make sure, that it is safety. If there is a vaccine, protecting from the disease, but the virus can extend, as for example, the vaccine of the Oxford University, - it will be a trouble, as we do not want virus to live among us, and we want to destroy it totally. And it is quite possible, that such a vaccine will appear. A good vaccine will appear, I am sure of that, there is no doubts. There are many good virologists in the world, that is why it is going to be. It is not a problem. And such a vaccine will protect everybody!
"I am concerned about the lack of scientific information about the Russian vaccine," Professor Ahmad o described his attitude to the Russian vaccine in his letter. El-Kafrawi from Egypt:
The issue of the vaccine is still very controversial. The world Health Organization has already identified about 400 potential vaccines that are being developed in laboratories and organizations around the world. Scientists use all known and currently available technologies in this field to develop them. However, there is still very little scientific information about any of these vaccines being developed. The same applies to the new Russian vaccine. I am concerned about the lack of scientific information about the Russian vaccine, there is no publication of any data about the vaccine. In this regard, it is very difficult for any specialist to give any assessments or comments on this issue. But for myself, I decided to look into this issue, and at the international conference of the world's leading virologists, I will make a presentation on the topic "vaccines against Covid-19 (SARS-2): pros and cons"
"It is not necessary to claim that the Russian vaccine is something new and breakthrough," Professor Vincenzo Cerullo from Finland said in a telephone conversation
If I understand the scientific component of this development correctly, I think this is a fairly rational and correct approach. Again, I don't know exactly how this vaccine was developed, or how many trials it went through, including toxicity studies. I don't know this and I can't comment on it in any way. If I understand correctly, this vaccine is based on 2 adenoviruses, a different serotype of another virus and they increase the septin.
So, I have essentially only 2 comments. The 1st concerns the scientific component of this vaccine. Based on what I know, I think the scientific basis of this vaccine is rational. However, I admit that I have not yet studied this issue in detail, but what I know gives me the right to conclude that the scientific approach behind this vaccine I like, this approach seems reasonable to me. I'm sure all the necessary research has been done, but it's just not published yet. Of course, the fact that Russia has registered a vaccine does not mean that the level of medicine in the country is higher than in other countries. Rather, the opposite is true. This approach, when an adenovirus is used to create special antibodies to the crown, or an adenovector spike (here I'm not sure at all, I don't know such terms) is a very classic approach to creating a vaccine. Almost everywhere that I can immediately remember now, Astrosenica, and other companies that use the same approach/method, the Chinese company Kanfaino (not sure of the spelling) uses a similar method/approach. If you look at the site clinicaltrials.gov then you will find that several other vaccines, also based on the adenovirus platform, are already undergoing the third phase of trials, just like the Russian one, according to their claims. Therefore, it is impossible to say that the Russian vaccine is something breakthrough and new. I am not sure that Russia is superior to other countries. We see that many countries and companies, for example, the University of Oxford, together with Astrosenics, are conducting the third phase of testing of vaccines that have a similar basis to the Russian one. This is not something new, from the point of view of science, they (the Russians) are not ahead of others, because, again, many other companies use exactly the same approach/method, and also because there are no registered clinical trials. Therefore, my personal opinion is that they are not ahead of anyone and have not invented something innovative, since this is a very common and well-known way to develop a vaccine. The ability to invent a vaccine, provided that the virus constantly mutates, depends on which part of the virus directly mutates. If the spines of the outer shell of the virus change during the mutation – this is quite difficult to do, however, I do not think that the spines of this virus constantly change their structure and structure. I think we still don't know for sure whether the antibodies against the covid virus spikes are effective, whether it creates complete protection against the virus. I think there are much more serious questions than this, than the degree of mutation of the virus's spikes, and I don't think that's the most important issue, at least for me. For me, what is important is that we know that a vaccine that has been tested can cause the formation of antibodies that act on the spikes of the virus, but we do not know whether this will prevent infection, and we do not yet know what exactly will allow us to get full protection from infection. I think this is the most important question, assuming that the virus spikes don't mutate significantly
In a telephone conversation with Professor Abdelouaheb Benani from Morocco, when asked about the Russian vaccine, he answered the following:
I am glad to hear from the President of Russia that they have developed the first vaccine and it is good for the world, because everyone was waiting for it. We waited to see who would develop the vaccine first. There are many researchers in other countries who are still working on clinical trials and waiting for results, so all vaccine projects are ongoing. Obviously, this viral infection does not give good immunity, but we expect it to be a defense with the kind of vaccination that will stimulate the immune system, and there will be feedback from the immune system. After all, until there is a final and precise solution, this means that if we need to prevent infection around the world, we must vaccinate people. Vaccination is a strategy to prevent the death of people who may be infected with the virus. Older people and people who have some health problems, they need this vaccine, and it's good for humanity. China is also working on a vaccine and is already finalizing development. China is the first country to come into contact with this infection and it may be that a vaccine in China will be ready by next year
"I will not vaccinate myself or my family with a product that I don't know anything about," Professor Milind M. Gore from India told us:
Yes, Russia registered the first vaccine and announced it. But this is not enough. At the moment, there is no information about what kind of vaccine it is, what type, what its action is based on, etc. This also affects the duration of trials aimed not only at the effectiveness of the vaccine, but also, very importantly, at the safety of its use. Therefore, I will not vaccinate myself or my family with a product that I know nothing about. In my opinion, there is always a risk of a strong mutation of the original strain of the virus, and the vaccine will not be effective in this case. However, as practice shows, genetically viruses do not mutate so much, so most often invented and passed all the necessary tests of the vaccine successfully cope with the task - to form human immunity against a specific pathogen. But all this happens only when all the research, all the stages of development and testing of the vaccine have been completed.
As for Russia, if they claim that this is effective, then it is. In all countries, the vaccine is registered according to their internal methods. Therefore, if other countries want to use the Russian vaccine, they will still have to conduct internal verification procedures. Accordingly, if Russia is going to use this vaccine on its territory,it is their country and their population.
In the old days, rabies vaccines tested on sheep brain cells, OPV toxoids, and so on were simply accepted for use. Now nobody takes anything for granted. In this regard, I also do not see any problems in this case. No one knows "what a vaccine is". Complete, ineffective, based on protein reactions, truncated, etc. Unfortunately, the third phase of the DEN YF vaccine trials in the Philippines did not show successful results in mass vaccination. The national institutes of health (NIH) is currently neutral. The immune response of the human body changes every day. It's like a separate universe.»
"The vaccine is not a panacea for COVID-19." Indian Professor Anupam Varma stated in his letter:
It usually takes a long time to invent a vaccine. But given the unusual conditions we are currently in, a vaccine can be invented much faster. The speed with which the Sputnik-V vaccine was invented is staggering. I personally would be happy to try it if necessary. It's like a straw of hope for a drowning man. The Sputnik V vaccine is the hope of millions. Imperfections and possible side effects of this vaccine will only determine the time after which more necessary information can be collected. The vaccine is not a panacea for COVID-19! Wearing medical masks, social distance, basic rules of personal hygiene and isolation of infected people from healthy people, effective measures against infection with the virus. However, the availability of an effective vaccine will add confidence in the fight against the threat of COVID-19. As for testing the Russian vaccine, I am sure that testing will be carried out on the territory of India as soon as possible.
In a telephone conversation with a Professor from Nigeria Oyewale Tomori about the Russian vaccine the Professor said important words:
First of all, I hope that the Russian government will not do anything that could harm people. I really hope that people will not have any doubts that the vaccine is really high-quality, and no one will have to be convinced of this. I hope that Russia will not create a vaccine that will harm the people, we very quickly learned about the registration of the vaccine. Very little time has passed for such a step. I would like to emphasize that I really hope that this vaccine will not harm people, because people from other countries also need it, but they should be sure of it.