Corona vaccine from Russia raises questions: “Strange patterns”

Tests with the Russian corona vaccine “Sputnik V”.

Natalia Kolesnikova / AFP via Getty Images

Registered in August after just a few weeks of testing, going into mass production in September, nationwide vaccination could already begin in October: Russia is rushing forward with its vaccine against the coronavirus.

The name of the product developed at the Gamaleya Research Institute already suggests that this has to do with a certain nationalism: “Sputnik V”, named after the satellite with which the Soviet Union won the space race against the USA. In any case, Russian President Vladimir Putin raves about “Sputnik V” – even though it was apparently only tested on 76 people before it was approved for use.

This number at least comes from a study that the researchers at the Gamaleya Research Institute published in the medical journal “The Lancet”. It is one reason for the doubts about the vaccine from Russia: Can a vaccine developed so quickly and so little tested actually work, and without side effects?

27 scientists from Europe, the USA and Asia now report doubts in a letter to “The Lancet”.

Scientists discover “obvious duplications” in the data on the corona vaccine

“There are several strange patterns in the data that appear repeatedly in the individual experiments,” the scientists write. “Assuming simple probability calculations, it is highly unlikely to find so many identical data patterns in different experiments.”

In plain language: In the Russian study on “Sputnik V”, the scientists found exactly the same data in different test persons in places, with no deviations. This is highly unlikely in scientific and especially medical studies – and suggests that the Russian study was botched.

However, the scientists are cautious in their conclusion, they come to the conclusion that “we cannot make any reliable assumptions about the reliability of the data presented, especially with regard to the obvious repetitions that we have discovered.”



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