International 04/03/2021

The European Medicines Agency is already studying the Russian Sputnik V vaccine

It is a preliminary step to accelerate an eventual authorization of the vaccine once Russia applies for it

2 min
A health worker administers a vaccine
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BrusselsThe European Medicines Agency (EME) is starting to study the Russian vaccine Sputnik V. Despite the growing diplomatic diplomatic tensions between Russia and the European Union, and the scepticism that even the president of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, showed towards the Russian vaccine, the EME announced on Thursday that it is starting its scientific review of it. It is a preliminary step undertaken at the initiative of the EME, which considers that it already has enough information to study it and that it will be helpful to accelerate the authorisation process once Russia formally requests it.

The EME expert committee has chosen to start this scientific analysis of the vaccine developed by the National Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology of Russia, Gameleya, because the clinical and laboratory studies available in adults "indicate that Sputnik V triggers the production of antibodies and immune cells directed against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and can help protect against COVID-19".

As of this Thursday, then, the EME evaluates the data that are available and there is no end date, but the study continues until the agency considers that it has enough evidence to activate the process of authorization and marketing. However, the agency and the European authorities have worked throughout the pandemic to squeeze the deadlines as much as possible and, in fact, this preliminary study serves precisely to accelerate the approval process once Russia applies for it.

The complicated geopolitical battle for the vaccine

Gameleya's creators had been in contact with the EME for weeks and, in fact, at the end of January it was even published that Russia had submitted the application to the EU, which was later denied by the European authority. The coronavirus vaccine has become yet another chapter in the complicated relations between Russia and the European Union. With the start of the vaccination campaign, Brussels has been the target of criticism for having authorised several vaccines later than countries such as the United Kingdom or the United States. And Russia, who is constantly monitored by the EU for spreading fake news in Europe regarding the coronavirus, has not thought twice about taking advantage of this context.

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