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Wednesday, February 3, 2021

February 03, 2021
image: Reuters

(DailyMail) - Combining the Sputnik and Oxford vaccines could offer the best protection against Covid-19 mutations, scientists suggested yesterday.

One dose of each may boost the immune response and better combat the changing strains, according to the funding body behind the Russia-made jab.

Trial results out yesterday show Sputnik is 92 per cent effective against Covid-19 after two jabs. Only 16 of 16,500 people given it had symptoms. No one died from the disease or needed hospital treatment.

Kirill Dmitriev, of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, said combining it with the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab could help.

‘We generally believe that two shots of different vaccines –AstraZeneca and Sputnik – may actually work better because immunity gets stronger,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s World At One.

‘This idea, called heterogeneous boosting, is at the core of the Sputnik vaccine because we use two different shots and believe this is the best way to fight with mutations, and this also fosters a partnership between different vaccine manufacturers.’

Asked whether the UK had contacted RDIF about acquiring some of the vaccine, Mr Dmitriev said: ‘Not yet, but I think once we have proven the efficacy of an AstraZeneca-Sputnik combination, I think it is possible to have this discussion with the UK.’

Russia became the first country to register a Covid vaccine for emergency use back in August, despite it only having been tested on a handful of people.

Scientists say the findings – published in The Lancet – show it has joined the ranks of Pfizer, Oxford, Moderna and Janssen as a proven effective vaccine.

The Russian vaccine, which works in the same way as the Oxford jab, was found to be 74 per cent effective at blocking Covid after just a single dose and worked for all ages. In a comment published with the paper, Professor Ian Jones, of the University of Reading, said: ‘The Sputnik V vaccine has been criticised for unseemly haste, corner cutting, and an absence of transparency.

‘But the outcome reported here is clear and the scientific principle of vaccination is demonstrated, which means another vaccine can now join the fight to reduce the incidence of Covid-19.’

Dr Julian Tang, a clinical virologist at the University of Leicester, added: ‘Despite the earlier misgivings about the way this Russian vaccine was rolled out more widely... this approach has been justified to some extent now.’


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