British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has announced a partnership with the team behind the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine to explore the potential of combining its own experimental formula with the pioneering Russian product.
The agreement, revealed on Friday morning, came after the Russian scientists took to Twitter to propose that AstraZeneca try the combination. They said it was worth experimenting with the model preferred by Moscow researchers and using two different shots rather than relying on the same one twice.
In a statement to the press, the British company unveiled “a clinical trial programme to assess safety and immunogenicity of combination of AZD1222, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and Sputnik V, developed by [the] Russian Gamaleya Research institute.”
They added that “combinations of different COVID-19 vaccines may be an important step in generating wider protection through a stronger immune response and better accessibility.”
Responding to the news, The Russian Direct Investment Fund, which financed the Gamaleya team, wrote that it was “an example of Russia’s proactive approach: it has not only created one of the world’s most effective vaccines to date against coronavirus, but is ready to share Sputnik V vectors with those willing to produce vaccines using the two-vector technology.”
The creators of Sputnik V reported earlier this month that their formula proved effective in 95 per cent of those given two shots as part of clinical trials. Over 45,000 people took part in the process. In initial data published in November, AstraZeneca said that its own formula was around 70 per cent effective on average. It is hoped that trials using two different types of vaccine together will improve that figure.