Trials confirm safety of AstraZeneca/Sputnik vaccine combo

Mix of vaccine shots developed in UK and Russia showed ‘acceptable profile’, preliminary data shows

The use of the Sputnik Light vaccine developed in Russia along with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 appears to be safe, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said in a statement on Monday. Russia’s sovereign wealth fund cited preliminary results of clinical trials conducted jointly by producers of the two vaccines in several countries.

The safety claim is based on the results of Phase II trials of the combo in Russia and Azerbaijan. In each country, 100 volunteers received an AstraZeneca vaccine injection followed by a Sputnik Light injection, or vice versa, and were monitored for nearly 60 days after the initial injection, RDIF said.

The combination “demonstrated an acceptable safety profile, which is consistent with results from previous clinical trials of AstraZeneca, Sputnik V and Sputnik Lite vaccines,” the statement said.

Sputnik Light is the first dose of the two-dose human adenoviral vector vaccine Sputnik V, which was developed by the Gamaleya Center in Moscow. The Oxford-designed vaccine produced by pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca uses a similar adenovirus vector platform, although the virus in question is a chimpanzee virus rather than a human virus.

The parties agreed to test how a combination of the two vaccines works in December last year, with Russia, Azerbaijan and the UEA chosen to host the clinical trials. Russian drugmaker R-Pharm has joined lab Gamaleya and AstraZeneca in the project.

RDIF, which funded the development of Sputnik V and is involved in its global marketing, noted that the blending approach was also recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO made the recommendation in December after a promising trial of AstraZeneca/Moderna and AstraZeneca/Pfizer vaccine combinations in Britain.

Preliminary test results from Russia and Azerbaijan further support the “mix and match” approach in vaccinating against Covid-19, said Kirill Dmitriev, the CEO of RDIF.

“With the emergence of new dangerous variants of concern, this approach could provide safe, effective and long-term protection,” he said.

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