BANGKOK, December 11. /TASS/. The Thai authorities are only looking at possible use of the Russian Sputnik V anti-coronavirus as they want to know long-term results of its use, director of Thailand’s National Vaccine Institute Dr. Nakorn Premsri said in an interview with TASS.
The Sputnik V vaccine developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Russian Health Ministry consists of two solutions containing recombinant human adenoviruses Ad5 and Ad26, which are used as a transport (vector) to deliver the gene encoding the SARS-CoV-2 S-protein.
"If a person has antibodies to viral vectors, the vaccine does not work," the expert explained. "In Thailand, 60% of the population has an innate immunity to Ad5, which means that when the vaccine enters the human body, it will be neutralized by the existing immunity. We have no data on Ad26, so we are only considering using Sputnik V. "
At the same time, the virologist said it would be right to publish "results of the vaccine use among people who have innate immunity." "If the vaccine works even with the existing immunity, it will be the key advantage of this vaccine," he stressed.
According to Dr. Premsri, before vaccination people should be examined for the existence of immunity and monitor them after vaccination to see whether they contract the coronavirus or not. "A thousand volunteers will be enough for this, but if it is possible to invest more money in the program, then 5,000 people with immunity can be involved," he said. "I think that even at the third phase of testing specialists should have tested the volunteers for immunity, but I haven’t seen these results. It is necessary to provide evidence of the vaccine's performance for people with immunity, which may be detected in a few months."
If vaccinated people with and without immunity demonstrate the same results after a longer period of time, it will be a proof of the vaccine’s effectiveness, he noted. "In this case, the manufacturers could say that there is no need to worry about immunity, since the vaccine works for everyone," the virologist added.
As for decisions on the use of any vaccines in Thailand, they are made by a special government committee, Dr. Premsri said, adding that one of the distribution options for Sputnik V in Thailand could be through private clinics. "If Sputnik V is registered in the kingdom, it can be sold," he explained.
Dr. Premsri confirmed that prospects for Sputnik V use in Thailand were being discussed with the Russian Direct Investment Fund but no agreements had been signed so far. "We received the results of the third phase of the tests and they are interesting. It will take time to make a decision, because this is not a question that can be simply answered yes or no," the specialist concluded.
The first coronavirus case in Thailand was confirmed on January 13. By today, around 4,100 such cases have been confirmed in the country. More than 3,800 patients have recovered and 60 patients have died. An emergency regime will stay in place until January 15, 2021.