AstraZeneca to work on COVID-19 vaccine with Russia’s Sputnik V

December 13, 2020 British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca said Friday it would soon start work with Russia’s Gamaleya Institute to investigate whether their two coronavirus vaccine candidates could be successfully combined.

It comes after the developers of the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine approached AstraZeneca via Twitter last month to ask if they should try combining both to boost vaccine efficacy.

“Being able to combine different COVID-19 vaccines may help improve protection and improve vaccine accessibility. This is why it is important to explore different vaccine combinations to help make immunization programs more flexible, by allowing physicians greater choice at the time of administering vaccines,” AstraZeneca said in a statement.

AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, produced in collaboration with the University of Oxford, is one of several seeking to secure approval from medicine regulators amid rising hopes that a mass vaccination campaign could help end the pandemic.

To date, more than 69 million people have contracted the coronavirus worldwide, with 1.58 million related deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

“We welcome the beginning of this new stage of cooperation between vaccine producers. We are determined to develop this partnership in the future and to start joint production after the new vaccine demonstrates its efficacy in the course of clinical trials,” Dmitriev said.