Sputnik Vaccine History , Approval, Efficacy, Price, Side Effects

In August 2020, the Russian government announced a new vaccine to battle the deadly Coronavirus disease, the Sputnik Vaccine, making it the first ever Covid-19 vaccine to be made and registered by the Russian Ministry of Health to battle the deadly pandemic. Coming at a time the world was racked with the deadly Coronavirus and tons of deaths and sick people turning up, one would think the vaccine would be met with great cheer. But that was not totally the case. This was mostly because of lack of provision of necessary data to prove the efficacy of the Vaccine at the early stages of the announcement by the Russian government to satisfy the necessary international health bodies.


The Russian State Institute Gamaleya National Research Centre of Epidemiology first made known the development of the Sputnik Vaccine in May 2020, announcing it to be a two dose vaccine with no side effects. It was approved for use by the Russian government immediately, even as the results of the phase 3 clinical trials were still being awaited. The vaccine has gone up to be accepted and used by over 70 countries with great results, quelling fears from all quarters.

The Sputnik Vaccine, also known as Gam-Covid-Vac, is a heterologous recombinant adenovirus (rAd) based vaccine evolved from rAd type 26 (rAd26) and rAdtype 5 (rAd5), carrying the gene for SARSS-CoV-2 full-length glycoprotein. Both vaccines—rAd26-S and rAd5-S—are introduced separately into the deltoid muscle in an interval of 21 days. With the first vaccination, strong humoral and cellular immunity is induced, while the second vaccination helps in the formation of memory cells, marking a long lasting and sturdy immune response against the virus.

Not new to the medical field, adenoviral vector vaccines have been used severally in producing adenoviral vector-based medicines—with an example of small pox vaccines. The vaccine was developed in two ways: as a liquid solution frozen and ready to use, and as a free-dried powder which must be mixed with sterile water before use. This makes the vaccine easy to transport to needed areas without need for a cold storage chain, unlike most of the other Covid-19 vaccines available in use today.

On August 2021, the Russian State Institute Gamaleya National Research Center of Epidemiology announced a new addition to the vaccines, the Sputnik Light (Ad26), for areas with intense cases of outbreak, and as a supplement for those who had taken the sputnik vaccine at least six months earlier. The Sputnik light, compared to the predecessor, is a one dose vaccine, and it had been reported to have an efficacy of 79.4% in preventing symptomatic infection, and about 84% in preventing death so far.

Approval of the Sputnik Vaccine

A year after the development of the Sputnik vaccine and it is still yet to be approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), and European Medicines Agency, (EMA). This is because of the skepticism of the two health bodies towards the way the Russian government handled the whole thing, and the unavailability of relevant data of test and trials run prior to the announcement and approval for use of the vaccine.

But despite the non-approval of the vaccine and even as investigations into its efficacy, and the study of the factory conditions and whatnot under which the vaccine is being produced, it had been in use in over 70 countries including Brazil, Philippines, India, Venezuela, the United Arab Emirate and more.

Efficiency of the Sputnik Vaccine and its Side Effects

In the interim form result published concerning the Phase 3 trial in Feburary 2021, it was stated that 14,964 adults received both doses of the vaccine, and 4,902 received two doses of Placebo. It turned out that only 16 of those who received the Vaccine developed symptomatic Covid-19, while 62 subjects in the placebo group also fell in the same category. This represented an efficacy of 91.6%, proving that the vaccine was indeed effective.

Several other studies have been carried about the efficacy of the Sputnik Vaccine. The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Health released results of the vaccine administered on 81,000 individuals who were administered the two doses to show and efficacy of 97.6% in preventing the virus, and a 100% efficacy in preventing severe disease.

Other sources from which data have been gotten about the sides effect of the sputnik vaccine has mostly released a result that pointed to a moderate or no side effect after use of the vaccine, and in the case of moderate side effects, it has been reported to be mainly slight fever, fatigue, muscle aches, which are similar side effects typical of the other Covid-19 vaccines.