Currently there are about 165 different vaccines for COVID-19 being developed around the world. The main types of vaccines include: viral vector-based vaccines, virus-based, nucleic acid-based and protein-based vaccines. Russian adenovirus vector-based vaccine was registered by the Russian Ministry of Health on August 11 and became the first registered COVID-19 vaccine on the market. The announcement created a so-called “Sputnik moment” for the global community.
In 1957 the successful launch of the first space satellite by the Soviet Union reinvigorated space research around the world. The new Russian COVID-19 vaccine is therefore called Sputnik V.
This website has been created to provide accurate and up-to-date information about Sputnik V and to combat the misinformation campaign launched against it in the international media.
How adenoviral vector-based vaccines work
“Vectors” are vehicles, which can induce a genetic material from another virus into a cell. The gene from adenovirus, which causes the infection, is removed while a gene with the code of a protein from another virus spike is inserted. This inserted element is safe for the body but still helps the immune system to react and produce antibodies, which protect us from the infection.
The technological platform of adenovirus-based vectors makes it easier and faster to create new vaccines through modifying the initial carrier vector with genetic material from new emerging viruses that helps to create new vaccines in relatively short time. Such vaccines provoke a strong response from a human immune system.
Human adenoviruses are considered as some of the easiest to engineer in this way and therefore they have become very popular as vectors.
Safety and efficacy
After the start of the COVID-19 pandemic Russian researchers extracted a fragment of genetic material from novel coronavirus SARS-COV-2, which codes information about the structure of the spike S-protein, which forms the virus’ “crown” and is responsible for connection with human cells. They inserted it into a familiar adenovirus vector for delivery into a human cell creating the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine.
In order to ensure lasting immunity Russian scientists came up with a breakthrough idea to use two different types of adenovirus vectors (rAd26 and rAd5) for the first and second vaccination, boosting the effect of the vaccine.
The use of human adenoviruses as vectors is safe because these viruses, which cause the common cold, are not novel and have been around for thousands of years.