Combining vaccines will help beat variants, says Sputnik backer

Combining vaccines is the best way to tackle new COVID-19 variants, according to the man behind the development of Sputnik V.

Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, has been pouring resources into efforts to fight the pandemic, including funding the creation of vaccines.

He spoke to CGTN Europe after his fund commissioned a study from the Gamalaya Institute which indicated that Sputnik offered "the best virus neutralization results against omicron in comparison with other vaccines."

The research, which has not been peer reviewed, found that, although the vaccine was less effective against the new variant than the previously dominant delta variant, the drop off was significantly lower than other jabs such as that produced by Pfizer. Even better protection was offered through a Sputnik booster jab, the research found, with all subjects given a third dose found to generate antibodies to Omicron

"This is really very promising data. Of course, we need to do more analysis, actually study omicron efficacy in real world data. But this lab study is very promising, and it's a very good signal for the world," Dmitriev said.

The findings appear to contradict a separate study by the University of Washington and the drugmaker Humabs Biomed, which has also not yet been peer reviewed. That indicated that Sputnik may be ineffective against omicron.

Dmitriev said that using a mix of doses was likely to be the best way to ensure a broad protection as the virus evolves.

"We believe at the end of the day, it's about combining our forces, having combinations of vaccines to fight different mutations. And here, Russia, China, other countries can play a big role in working together and doing vaccine combos to defeat omicron, and other mutations," he told Jamie Owen.

Sputnik, which is produced in a number of countries, ranks sixth in terms of global vaccine production with more than 220 million doses having been distributed, according to Airfinity.

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