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Russia’s Sputnik V Vaccine Maker Promises Delta Variant Boosters to Rivals

Russian authorities have claimed that Sputnik V is effective against the more-contagious variant first identified in India. Vyacheslav Prokofyev / TASS

The makers of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine have vowed to offer rival manufacturers a “booster shot” against the more contagious and vaccine-resistant Delta variant first identified in India.

Russian authorities have claimed that Sputnik V is effective against the Delta variant, whose spread amid an uneven global vaccination campaign is raising concerns about how soon life would return to normal. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which markets and funds Sputnik V, said this week that it had submitted its research on the vaccine's effectiveness against the variant to an international peer-reviewed journal.

We’ve always said that vaccine cocktails are the way of the future,” RDIF said on Sputnik V’s official Twitter account Thursday announcing the booster-shot offer to other manufacturers.

Heterogeneous boosting helped Sputnik V reach its outstanding efficacy confirmed by real-world studies,” it said. 

A peer-reviewed study placed Sputnik V’s efficacy at 91.6% earlier this year. Sputnik V’s two doses each use a different nonreplicating adenovirus as a “vector” to transport DNA coding for the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 into host cell DNA.

RDIF did not provide details on how soon and on what terms it plans to offer booster shots to other vaccine manufacturers.

The United Arab Emirates, Belarus and Azerbaijan have approved human trials of a combined British AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine with Sputnik V. The approval process has been stalled in Russia over what the Health Ministry’s ethical committee attributed to a lack of needed documents on efficacy and safety, Reuters reported late last month.

RDIF has said that Sputnik V maker Gamaleya Institute would publish a peer-reviewed study on the jab’s efficacy against Covid-19 mutations by May, but the institute has not yet done so.

Early studies show that antibody levels were lower in vaccinated people exposed to the Delta variant than those exposed to the original strain. However, another recent study showed existing vaccines as effective at preventing hospitalizations of those exposed to the Delta variant as they are at preventing hospitalizations of those exposed to earlier strains.

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