Sputnik V COVID-19 Vaccine to Make Its Way to the Philippines – Snapshot:

  • Efficacy of Sputnik V against COVID-19 was reported at 91.6% as confirmed by the data published in The Lancet
  • Sputnik V provides full protection against severe cases of COVID-19
  • The level of virus-neutralizing antibodies of volunteers vaccinated with Sputnik V is 1.3-1.5 times higher than the level of antibodies of patients who recovered from COVID-19
  • One of the most affordable COVID-19 vaccines in the world with a price of less than $10 per shot
  • Sputnik V uses two different vectors – based on human adenovirus serotypes Ad5 and Ad26 – in two separate shots, allowing for a more effective defense against the virus

COVID-19 presented a major challenge to the Philippines. The country logged over 616,611 coronavirus cases and more than 12,750 fatalities from the beginning of 2020 to March 13, 2021 —the second-highest figures in Southeast Asia. Recently, Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  of the  Republic of the  Philippines announced the approval of  The  Russian  Direct Investment  Fund  (RDIF, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund) Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine against coronavirus.

The approval was granted after the Government of the Philippines considered several key elements including safety and efficacy. This is timely and the Philippines was among the first to show interest in the Sputnik vaccine after it was registered in Russia. The vaccine was recently granted an emergency use authorization in the Philippines after a thorough review of the data and will become one of the key tools to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the country. The Philippines is one of the most populated nations of South East Asia. Diversification of the national vaccine portfolio through registration of Sputnik V provides people of the Philippines with access to one of the best vaccines, which is already saving lives around the world.

Public health and medical experts stressed that safety and efficacy cannot be compromised at any cost. Interestingly, the Lancet, one of the renowned medical journals, has published the outcomes of phase III clinical trials of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V. [i]The1  journal states that the two-dose treatment of Sputnik V administered 21 days apart demonstrated efficacy of 91.6% against COVID-19 as confirmed by data published in Lancet. Sputnik V generated a robust humoral and cell-mediated immune response.

Meanwhile, the medical experts, too, have welcomed additional data and positive outcomes about the safety and efficacy of Sputnik V in different subgroups.

“As the   Chairperson of the   Committee on   People’s   Participation of the   House of Representatives,  I  took it upon myself to help the government and the Filipino people facilitate dialogues and cooperation in the conduct of clinical studies of COVID-19 vaccines to ensure their availability in the country at the earliest possible time.  My committee has conducted a series of meetings with the Russian government since last year on their COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, in a bid to fast-track coordination with the concerned Philippine agencies with respect to their clinical trials in the country.

I am personally delighted to know, based on the experts’ opinions during meetings and my own readings, that Sputnik V not only has a high efficacy rate, it performs better in the older age group, 60 years and above. This is certainly welcome news for our senior citizens.

My committee has been there since the beginning by opening the line of communication between and among the stakeholders. This is the reason why I was overjoyed when I learned that our  Food and  Drugs  Association has finally approved  Sputnik  V’s emergency use authorization. I am looking forward to a successful rollout of Sputnik V in the country and hoping that plans to set up a manufacturing hub in the country for the vaccine push through so that all Filipinos can have access to the vaccine. This will certainly help us recover and move forward as a  nation.,”  says  Rep.  Florida  P.  Robes,  San  Jose  Del  Monte  City,  Bulacan, and Chairperson of the Committee on People’s Participation, House of Representatives.

While there are over 150 vaccines in different phases of development across the world, there are very few (discussed above) that have proved their efficacy against COVID-19. Nevertheless, safety and efficacy are the key aspects that the Philippines government should be considering while choosing new vaccines for the Philippines.

Storage and logistics are two major challenges in the Philippines and very few vaccines comply with the conditions in the Philippines. Russian vaccine has proven to be the natural choice even before the phase III trials as it is available in two forms, liquid, which could be stored at -18°C and lyophilized (freeze-dried), to be stored at 2°C to 8°C. The lyophilized form is developed keeping transportation constraints to remote places in mind.

Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine is approved for use in over 50 countries with a total population of over 1.4 billion people. Sputnik V ranks second among coronavirus vaccines globally in terms of the number of approvals issued by government regulators making it one of the world’s top three coronavirus vaccines in terms of the number of approvals issued by regulatory authorities.

In the fight against a virus that brought the world to a standstill, it would be important to collectively find a conducive solution to reach the endpoint. The Philippines not only needs to continue the fight against the pandemic but also win it along with other countries of the world by adopting a pragmatic approach and a step in the right direction.