Following the publication of a study of Russia’s new coronavirus vaccine named Sputnik V, the renowned medical journal The Lancet has been inundated with international criticism from scientists.
The journal is now calling upon the study’s authors to comment on the numerous questions and concerns, a spokesperson told dpa on Wednesday. “We are still closely monitoring the situation,” she said.
Russia has reported no significant side effects from the vaccine, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has endorsed it, saying his daughter has used it successfully with no cause for concern.
Last week an international group of about 40 scientists signed an open letter expressing considerable doubts about the study published in The Lancet and demanding full disclosure of the data.
“While the research described in this study is potentially significant, the presentation of the data raises several concerns which require access to the original data to fully investigate,” the letter said.
One of the letter’s signatories, Enrico Bucci of Temple University in the United States, said in comments carried by the Russia-based independent newspaper The Moscow Times that the international community was waiting for the complete data.
“They are all talking about it, but no one is providing it,” Bucci was quoted as saying.
Russian state news agency TASS reported that the vaccine’s developers were ready to answer questions from their Western colleagues. It described the critiques as part of usual scientific discourse.
The Sputnik V vaccine is named after the first satellite to reach orbit, Sputnik 1, a triumph of the Soviet Union in the space race with rival superpower the United States in the late 1950s.
The vaccine, developed by a Russian state laboratory, is the world’s first to be approved by a government for use by the general public.
Russia has received international orders for the vaccine, including 50 million doses to Brazil and 100 million to India, state media have reported.