Dziennik N, appearing in Slovakia, provided information that may turn out to be a real world sensation. Well, the daily reports that the Slovak government institute responsible for the approval of drugs and pharmaceuticals for use came to the conclusion, after having tested a batch of Russian Sputnik V vaccines purchased by Slovakia, that they are not identical to those that received a positive recommendation from a reputable the medical journal The Lancet. The Slovak institute did not receive from the Russian side full documentation enabling comprehensive testing of the drug, and on the basis of partial trials it came to the conclusion that the Russian vaccines already delivered are different than those sold by Russia in other countries. Additional tests have been commissioned, but the results will not be known until next week.
This information is in line with the recent statement by Christ Wirthumer-Hoche, head of the European Medicines Agency, who said in a recent interview with one of the Austrian TV channels that the approval of Sputnik V for use by national authorization authorities invoking the state of necessity, such as this happened in Hungary or Slovakia “resembles a game of Russian roulette”. And she strongly advised against national licensing in a situation where, as she said, “there is insufficient data to prove the safety of the vaccine.” She also said that the subordinate office that started the formal registration procedure for Sputnik V does not yet have the necessary information and documents about the people vaccinated with it.
This statement coincided with the information provided by The Wall Street Journal, which even published a special report, largely based on the data of secret services, which shows that Russian intelligence is carrying out a campaign through online media aimed at disinformation and multiplying doubts, if it comes to the peculiarities of competition widely reported in the West. The Pfizer preparation was the primary target of the attack. Its effectiveness is questioned, its price is criticized, and especially the conditions in which it must be stored and distributed. Undoubtedly, the Russian authorities have an interest in disavowing competition. In the local media, one could read statements by representatives of the government that the export of licenses for the production and Sputnik V itself could bring Russia up to $ 15 billion a year in the coming years, more than it earns today from exporting arms and weapons.
Government crisis in Slovakia
The purchase of 2 million ampoules of the Russian Sputnik V caused a government crisis in Slovakia and the resignation of both Prime Minister Igor Matovič and Health Minister Marek Krajci. The latter was also reminded by the media that he had been an observer of the last presidential elections in Russia and considered them to meet the standards of democratic procedures. Moreover, this is not the only openly pro-Russian position of the Slovak government. In January, the head of the foreign ministry, Ivan Korczok, said that the European Union and Slovakia were against endless anti-Russian sanctions and that such a tool should be used with caution and as a last resort.
Russia was the first in the world to register its vaccine, which caused a lot of controversy in the international scientific community. The fact that during the first two clinical trials confirmed the correct immune response in all 76 people taking in the Russian study, Talha Khan Burki, a journalist for this periodical and PhD in pharmacy working at the University of Sydney, wrote in the same The Lancet – is not yet sufficient basis for registration. Certainly, in her opinion, on this basis, the Russian Sputnik V would not be approved by the US FDA or the European agency responsible for drug registration. At that time, Khan Burki drew attention to the fact that the third phase of research, which is already available today, would not be carried out, as long as it was considered credible. Moreover, as The Lancet Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said at the time, “the immune response may not be directly proportional to the degree of protection,” meaning that a positive immune response can be recorded, but it is difficult to say that the organism is indeed. protected against infection.
Even greater doubts arose last summer after Italian molecular biology researcher Enrico Bucci noticed puzzling patterns in the results of a Phase I and II vaccine trial, in which 76 volunteers participated, published by Russian researchers in The Lancet. Well, in the charts published by the Russians to prove the effectiveness of the drug, Bucci noticed that members of two different test groups (9 people each) who received different doses of the drug have identical levels of immune markers in the blood, which, according to the Italian specialist, is impossible and may indicate either about a mistake or about deliberate falsification of research results. In his opinion, which was supported in an open letter by over a dozen scientists from various centers in several countries around the world, the Russians should, as did other research centers, e.g. AstraZeneca working on the vaccine together with specialists from the University of Oxford, disclose the source data of their research and not only discussing their results.
These doubts died away after the publication in The Lancet of an article on the third most numerous clinical trial of Russia’s Sputnik V. Is it credible? Observers point out some disturbing facts. First, the so-called The third sample was to cover 40 thousand. people, mainly in Moscow, but after 19,964 vaccinations were carried out, it was decided to end the tests, as can be found from official sources. Why? Officially so as not to expose those participants who receive placebo to infection. Information about the selection by medical services of people who have been included in the research has also appeared in Russian social media, which is inconsistent with the principles adopted in Europe. So is the inclusion of people in the tests without their consent, which is said to have happened. Finally, there are opinions that people who had already passed Covid-19 and their organisms produced antibodies participated in the third trial. Such practice could significantly increase the effectiveness (91.6% according to The Lancet) of the Russian preparation. Skeptics also doubt whether only 4 people actually died after administering Sputnik V during the tests and whether it happened for other reasons, as reported by authorities, and not under the influence of the vaccine.
The Russian government is not famous for its love of truth and honesty. Doubts are also raised by the fact that Moscow treats its Sputnik V as a geopolitical “wunderwaffe”, a means by which its political influence in Europe is strengthened. In this case, it is not only about “states” such as Transnistria, to whom Moscow has promised to supply the vaccine, but also about Moldova, which is facing political fierce ahead of the upcoming early parliamentary elections of a pro-European camp centered around President Sandu and the pro-Russian social democrats of former president Igor Dodon. Moscow has just announced its decision to provide Chisinau with nearly 700,000. doses of Sputnik V, but in such a way that the “face” of this undertaking was Dodon and the Social Democrats.
Words by the Austrian Chancellor
It is not only about the so-called post-Soviet space. The Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, has just stated that “his country will not wait” for the European Medicines Agency to authorize the Russian preparation for use in the EU and start administering it earlier. Regardless of whether the doubts about the quality of Sputnik V turn out to be a justified position of Vienna, it is hardly a sign of strengthening intra-EU cohesion. Nor does it seem a matter of coincidence that Austria belongs to the group of European countries that are advocating a change in Brussels’ policy towards Russia, calling for its easing.
According to the quoted specialists, Russia has launched a massive campaign to promote its Sputnik V via social media. According to the quoted specialists, this type of advertising campaign by drug-producing companies is illegal under European law. But that’s not the main problem. The message of Russian media messages is intended not only to convince people of the effectiveness of their own preparation, but above all to strengthen intra-EU divisions. For this reason, journalists note that the Russian Sputnik V must be treated as a political tool used by the Kremlin.