Russia grants regulatory approval to COVID-19 vaccine, researchers skeptical

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the country had granted regulatory approval for a COVID-19 vaccine. Little is known about the vaccine, dubbed Sputnik-5, but there are concerns Russia skipped a critical testing phase — widespread human trials.

According to The New York Times, Russia's Association of Clinical Trials Organizations asked the health minister to delay approval, claiming the vaccine was tested on fewer than 100 people.

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In the United States, vaccines go through a detailed approval process that includes three stages of clinical trials.

“I think the FDA has been very clear all the usual steps to make sure the product is both safe and effective will be followed for each vaccine tested in the United States,” said Dr. Anna Wald, the head of allergy and infectious diseases at the University of Washington School of Medicine. She is involved in the phase 3 clinical trial for the AstraZeneca vaccine. She is looking for 30,000 participants.

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“It’s really important we get people who are at risk of getting this disease, which has taken a disproportionate toll on communities of color and the elderly, so those are the two populations we will target for enrollment. The AstraZeneca trial is expected to begin in a few weeks.,” she said.

There are five phase 3 clinical trials getting underway over the next couple of months. Researchers will need 150,000 volunteers. To see if you can help, take this survey.

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