AstraZeneca to test combining COVID-19 vaccine with Russian shot

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(Reuters) – Britain’s AstraZeneca said on Friday it would investigate combining its experimental COVID-19 vaccine with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine candidate, a move Russian scientists have suggested could sharply boost efficacy.
The developers of Sputnik V suggested on Twitter last month that AstraZeneca try the combination.
“Sputnik V is happy to share one of its two human adenoviral vectors with AstraZeneca to increase the efficacy of (the) AstraZeneca vaccine. Using two different vectors for two vaccine shots will result in higher efficacy than using the same vector for two shots,” they said on Nov. 23.
In its statement on Friday, AstraZeneca said it was considering how it could assess combinations of different vaccines, and would soon begin exploring with Russia’s Gamaleya Institute, which developed Sputnik V, whether two common cold virus-based vaccines could be successfully combined.
Data published in a journal this week showed that AstraZeneca’s vaccine, being developed along with The University of Oxford, has average efficacy of 70.4%, based on a pooled analysis of interim data from late stage trials.
Russia has claimed Sputnik V is 92% effective at protecting people from COVID-19, according to interim trial results.
Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund, which has funded Sputnik V, said: “This shows the strength of Sputnik V technology and our willingness and desire to partner with other vaccines to fight against COVID together.”
(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru and Andrew Osborn in Moscow; editing by Patrick Graham and Mark Potter)
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