Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) on Friday said pharma firm AstraZeneca has accepted its offer to use one of the two components of the Sputnik V vaccine in the latter's clinical trials. RDIF and Gamaleya Institute on November 23, 2020 had offered AstraZeneca to use one of the two components (human adenoviral vectors) of the Sputnik V vaccine in AstraZeneca's clinical trials of its vaccine against COVID-19, Russia's sovereign wealth fund said in a statement.
"AstraZeneca accepted RDIF's proposal and will begin clinical trials of its vaccine in combination with Sputnik V's human adenoviral vector type Ad26 by the end of 2020," it added.
This research will allow AstraZeneca's scientists to study the possibility of boosting their vaccine's efficacy through the application of this combined approach, RDIF said.
"The decision by AstraZeneca to carry out clinical trials using one of two vectors of Sputnik V in order to increase its own vaccine's efficacy is an important step towards uniting efforts in the fight against the pandemic," RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev said. Sputnik V is one of the most effective vaccines globally with over 90 per cent efficacy against coronavirus, RDIF said.
Meanwhile, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin pledged on Friday that the country would start COVID-19 vaccination at the end of the week and authorities would not miss the deadline.
"I can say today that we meet the deadline. The first batches of the vaccine have already been sent to regions, we are gradually nearing the output targets," Mishustin told coronavirus vaccine producers.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered that mass vaccination be launched this week. On Thursday, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said that over 6,000 residents of the Russian capital had already been vaccinated. Doctors, teachers and social services staffers are the first in line to receive the vaccine.
(With inputs from Agencies)