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Russia’s new Sputnik-Light vaccine aims to bridge shortage as Covid surges

Russia’s new Sputnik-Light vaccine aims to bridge shortage as Covid surges

With Covid vaccines falling short of the huge worldwide requirement for fighting the pandemic, Russia plans to conduct a clinical trial of a one-dose “Sputnik-Light” version of its coronavirus vaccine, according to media reports from Moscow.

The slimmed-down vaccine will be tested on 150 people in Moscow and St Petersburg.

‘Sputnik-Light’ can serve as an effective temporary solution for many countries, which are experiencing a peak of coronavirus infection,” said Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is covering the costs of the Sputnik-Light trial.

The aim is to maximise the number of people who have at least partial immunity, which would potentially reduce the number of severe cases and lessen the burden on healthcare systems.

Several governments are considering ways to stretch scarce supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, including by delaying second doses and reducing dose sizes.

Over a million Russians have until now been inoculated with the original two-dose version of Sputnik V which is also undergoing trials in India. Dr Reddy’s Lab has sought clearance for the stage 3 trials of the vaccine which will then be manufactured in India.

The two-dose vaccine will remain the main version used in Russia, Kirill Dmitriev, the head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, which is responsible for marketing Sputnik V abroad, said on Monday. The one-dose version could, however, be used for export.
The two Sputnik doses are delivered using different inactive viruses, known as vectors, and some Russian manufacturers are finding the second less stable to produce, leading to a surplus of the first component.
Last month, Russia shipped 300,000 vials of the Sputnik V vaccine to Argentina, its first major international vaccine delivery.

President Vladimir Putin has said the single dose will provide less protection than the two doses but “will still reach 85%”.

The Gamaleya Institute that developed the vaccine says it is more than 91% effective after the two-dose course.

Gamaleya Institute director Alexander Gintsburg has said that protective immunity after just the first shot of Sputnik V lasts around 3-4 months, Russia’s TASS news agency reported..