Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is more than 95 percent effective and will be free for all Russian citizens, the government announced Tuesday.
Moscow’s Gamaleya Research Institute, which serves under the Russian health ministry, said in a release that international markets will be able to purchase the serum for $10 per dose, with patients requiring two.
This would mean Sputnik V is “cheaper than mRNA vaccines with similar efficacy levels,” the institute said, referring to the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna candidates.
If those claims are true, it would put Russia’s vaccine candidate in a unique position compared to other promising vaccines. Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna candidates have efficacy of over 90 percent, too, but they use a brand-new mRNA formula that will need to be kept in subzero conditions.
The AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine was found to have similar effectiveness, but it can be stored in standard fridges, which reduces costs. The Sputnik V uses the same viral vector technique, allowing it to be stored in similar conditions, the Russian institute said.
Notwithstanding Tuesday’s findings, independent researchers have expressed trepidation.
Ian Jones, of the University of Reading, said that the “the Sputnik dose […] is twice that of the Oxford full dose yet appears not to have had any issues of inhibition. What exactly the ideal dose is for these adenovirus vectored vaccines is therefore a little uncertain.”