Some cosmonauts to get vaccinated against COVID-19 with Sputnik v
Russian Federal Space Agency (or its Soviet predecessor) on Wednesday announced that some cosmonauts may get Sputnik V coronavirus jab. However, the Sputnik V vaccination against COVID-19 on cosmonauts will be done voluntarily.
“Members of the cosmonaut corps and employees of the Cosmonaut Training Centre will be among the first to get vaccinated,” Dmitry Rogozin who is Roscosmos’s head said on Tuesday. The statement was issued on behalf of the Russian Direct Investment Fund that has funded the development of the vaccine.
The vaccination with Sputnik V on the next crew to travel to the International Space Station (ISS) has not yet been decided and the final decision will be made by the Russian Federal Medical-Biological Agency.
The next crew that will be departed to the ISS include Cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky, Pyotr Dubrov, and Sergei Korsakov from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan in April 2021.
The Russian cosmonauts who are currently in International Space Station were not in favor of vaccination as they believe it was too early to get a vaccine touted by President Vladimir Putin.
“As soon as the vaccine is tried and tested and proves its reliability then a decision will be taken to recommend that cosmonauts get vaccinated,” said Kud-Sverchkov at that time.
Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said that “Sputnik V will play an important role in ensuring the biological safety of the Russian space program.”
Although Russia has started its vaccination campaign, Sputnik is yet to pass its third and final phase of trials which involves some 40,000 volunteers.
Russian astronauts are called Cosmonauts. Cosmonauts are specially trained by the Russian Space Agency to work in space. Every astronaut who earned the title of “cosmonaut” is taking on a mantle once worn by Yuri Gagarin.
“Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin has tasked the head of the Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Center, Pavel Vlasov, together with the Federal Medical-Biological Agency with preparing the center’s team for the vaccination. We are also considering the vaccination of some members of the cosmonauts’ team,” the source said
Last week mass vaccination program was launched in Russia. Vaccination centers were opened with Sputnik V in Moscow. The vaccine is firstly available for people in risk groups, teachers, and medics.
The Russian vaccine Sputnik V which is named after a Soviet-era satellite was launched on 11 August 2020. However, the quality control or quality assurance details of the Sputnik V is not known but vaccinologist has observed its notable merits.
The Sputnik V has similarities with the smallpox vaccine developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s. The vaccine’s ease of transportation makes it an ideal choice for every country. The tolerability is also good and similar to the other adenovirus vectored vaccines. The vaccine was developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology showed 90 percent efficacy in preliminary results of clinical trials.
Although it’s difficult to compare virus-neutralizing antibodies between studies, in non-human primates with the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine, they achieved similar levels but only partial protection upon virus challenge”, vaccinologist Peter Hotez (Baylor College of Medicine, Texas, USA) has said about the vaccine to The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
The recent update on the vaccine is that the people who got vaccinated with Sputnik V are asked to avoid alcohol for two whole months as alcohol can interfere in the methods of Sputnik V in the development of immunity against the coronavirus. Although, the authority has not strictly banned the consumption of alcohol but it has been strictly advised to avoid alcohol consumption.