‘Sputnik V’ Russian Covid vaccine comes under scrutiny over data inconsistencies

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Submission of trial findings by Russian researchers last week in the Lancet regarding their announcement of “Sputnik V” vaccine in August, has cast a doubt relating to the data inconsistencies within the findings. In August 2020, Russia announced the approval of its first Covid-19 vaccine “Sputnik V” named after the first Soviet-era satellite launched in 1957.

Confirming the results of Phase 1/2 trials of Sputnik V, a detailed report was published in the medical journal ‘The Lancet’ last week. Soon after the paper was published, the data in it puzzled experts. Subsequently, a group of 16 scientists wrote an open letter to the editor of The Lancet, Dr. Richard Horton, raising concerns over the credibility of the data published. 

The letter by Enrico M. Bucci, Adjunct Professor at Temple University, who is well known for his work in biomedical scientific integrity was signed by scientists from several countries like Japan, Germany, Italy and France. Dr. Bucci tweeted that they wanted access to the original data and it should be made fully available for closer scrutiny. 

Dr. Gagandeep Kang, Professor of Microbiology, Christian Medical College, Vellore says in an email “Whenever unusual results are encountered and patterns look similar there are always concerns.” This came after the study of a large number of participants was questioned to be highly unlikely and duplication of figures was suspected. The spokeswoman from The Lancet said that they are aware of the open letter and have asked the authors to engage in a scientific discussion as the research had been published after proper review done by independent experts.

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