AstraZeneca to trial COVID vaccine combination with Russia’s Sputnik V

Being able to combine different COVID-19 vaccines may be helpful to improve protection and/or to improve vaccine accessibility, the company said

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Britain’s AstraZeneca said on Friday (December 11) that it would combine its COVID-19 vaccine with Russia’s vaccine Sputnik V in a clinical trial programme that will involve persons aged 18 years and above.

“Today, we announce a clinical trial programme to assess safety and immunogenicity of a combination of AZD1222, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, and Sputnik V, developed by Russian Gamaleya Research institute,” AstraZeneca said in a statement.

“Being able to combine different COVID-19 vaccines may be helpful to improve protection and/or to improve vaccine accessibility. This is why it is important to explore different vaccine combinations to help make immunisation programmes more flexible, by allowing physicians greater choice at the time of administering vaccines. It is also likely that combining vaccines may lead to improved immunity over a longer period of time,” the company said on its website.

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According to the company, “To overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, more than one vaccine will be needed… Assessing different types of COVID-19 vaccines in combination could help unlock synergies in protection and improve vaccine accessibility and could provide an additional approach to help overcome this deadly virus.”

Last month, Sputnik V said, “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.”

AstraZeneca’s vaccine efficacy is 70.4%, according to the company, while Sputnik V has claimed its vaccine to be 92% effective.

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On December 8, AstraZeneca said, “Results of an interim analysis of the Phase III programme conducted by Oxford University with AZD1222, peer-reviewed and published in The Lancet today, demonstrated that the vaccine is safe and effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 and that it protects against severe disease and hospitalisation.”

It added, “The interim analysis for efficacy was based on 11,636 participants accruing 131 symptomatic infections from the Phase III UK and Brazil trials conducted by Oxford University.”

Further, it stated, “As announced on 23 November 2020, the primary efficacy endpoint of the programme statistical plan, based on the pooling of two dosing regimens, showed that the vaccine is 70.4% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 occurring more than 14 days after receiving two doses of the vaccine. A secondary efficacy endpoint of prevention of severe disease demonstrated no cases of severe infections or hospitalisations in the vaccine group.”