Scientists question ‘strange’ data in Russian coronavirus va
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A group of scientists have questioned the reliability of data published by Russian epidemiologists on early clinical trials of its “Sputnik V” coronavirus vaccine, with one telling CNBC that Russia needs to explain and clarify its results.

In an open letter to the editor of The Lancet medical journal, in which Russia published early-stage trial results of its coronavirus vaccine last 4 September, a group of scientists said the data was incomplete and had shown some “unlikely patterns.”

They said the results showed that groups of participants had reported identical antibody levels at different points in the study.

“There are two different kinds of immune cells, CD4 and CD8, and nine out of nine are exactly or very similar values for CD4 and CD8 cells. These are completely unrelated cells, how can it be that you have nine people that have exactly the same number of CD4 and CD8?”

There are 27 signatories of the letter so far — predominantly scientists based in Europe but also including several in the U.S. and Asia.

The scientists were also concerned at the lack of original numerical data presented in The Lancet, saying that “no conclusions can be definitively drawn on the reliability of the data presented, especially regarding the apparent duplications detected.”

Enrico Bucci, a professor at Temple University in the U.S., said the lack of complete data was “the product of the rush to get important things published,” adding that “all over the world, there is undue pressure on scientists, and on clinicians, to hand over what they’re doing before they’re ready.”

Bucci said The Lancet had now asked the authors of Russia’s study to respond to the concerns raised by the signatories.

Earlier, however, Gamaleya Institute rebuffed the critique of its vaccine, with Denis Logunov, a deputy director at the institute, issuing a statement in which he said “the published results are authentic and accurate and were examined by five reviewers at The Lancet,” Reuters reported.

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