- BBC World News
The British company AstraZeneca announced that it will start recruiting people over 18 years of age to participate in clinical trials that will combine the vaccine it develops together with the University of Oxford with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, produced by the Gamaleya Institute in Moscow.
The goal of combining the two vaccines is to see if that way increases immune response and improves protection against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes covid-19.
As the company informed the BBC, the trials will take place in Russia, but it is not yet clear when they will start or on how many people this immunization will be tested.
“Scientific collaboration with the Gamaleya Research Institute is important to explore the potential of combining vaccines to unlock synergies in protection and accessibility,” AstraZeneca noted in a press release.
And he adds that it is “important to explore different combinations to help immunization programs be more flexible, allowing scientists a greater choice when administering them “as well as to improve” the long-term immunity“.
According to the Reuters news agency, the move is likely to be interpreted in Moscow as a long-awaited vote of confidence from a Western manufacturer to the Sputnik V vaccine.
According to the Gamaleya scientists, the trials – which are still ongoing – have shown a efficiency of more than 90%, a higher percentage than AstraZeneca’s own vaccine, similar to the American Pfizer and Moderna.
The Oxford vaccine, developed in conjunction with AstraZeneca, and the Sputnik V vaccine are similar in that they both contain genetic material of the spike-shaped protein SARS-CoV-2.
They work differently from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has been approved in the UK, Canada, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and recommended for expert approval in the US.
Some scientists in the West have raised concerns about how quickly Russia gave the go-ahead to offer the vaccine on a mass scale before completing its safety and efficacy tests.
It should be remembered that Russia was the first country to register a covid vaccine for use in an emergency in August, even though it had only been tested in a handful of people at that time.
Currently, the vaccine is offered in Moscow as part of a mass vaccination campaign.
For its part, AstraZeneca admitted that “to overcome the covid-19 pandemic, it will take more than one vaccine. ”
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