AstraZeneca to Cooperate With Sputnik V Developer on Vaccine Combinations

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by Evgeny Mikhaylov

AstraZeneca previously applied for the approval of its vaccine in Britain, however, the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is still researching the data on the drug. The company additionally noted that it will be running more clinical trials of the vaccine to validate its high efficacy rate.

The British-Swedish company AstraZeneca has accepted an offer from Russia’s Gamaleya Institute on cooperation in order to see whether their two COVID-19 vaccine candidates can be successfully combined.

“After the Sputnik V vaccine’s clinical trial preliminary results showed its efficacy at above 90 percent, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund) and Gamaleya Institute on November 23, 2020, offered AstraZeneca to use one of the two components (human adenoviral vectors1) of the Sputnik V vaccine in AstraZeneca’s clinical trials”, a statement from the RDIF  said.

“AstraZeneca accepted RDIF’s proposal and will begin clinical trials of its vaccine in combination with Sputnik V’s human adenoviral vector type Ad26 by the end of 2020. This research will allow AstraZeneca’s scientists to study the possibility of boosting their vaccine’s efficacy through the application of this combined approach”.

Commenting on the AZ vaccine, director of the Gamaleya Research Institute Alexander Gintsburg noted it is not efficient enough, but may be improved with 2 components of Sputnik V.

The vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in collaboration with Oxford University demonstrated 62% efficacy, while the Russian medication demonstrated a rate of over 95%.

However, the company later revealed that its AZD1222 vaccine had shown 90% efficacy when patients were mistakenly given half a dose during the first shot followed by a full one during the second, which necessitated additional trials.

The two vaccines are based on adenoviral vectors that deliver parts of the COVID-19 virus genome to a cell, however, Sputnik V uses human adenoviruses, while AZ uses modified chimpanzee adenoviruses.

Russia registered Sputnik V, the world’s first coronavirus vaccine, on 11 August. So far, about 50 countries have already ordered 1.2 billion doses of the medication. According to researchers, the vaccine will allow people to develop immunity to the coronavirus for at least two years.

In the meantime, Russia and the UK top the list of countries launching mass vaccinations, using the Sputnik V and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine respectively.

Sputnik

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