Russia Says One-Shot Sputnik Light Vaccine Has 79% Efficacy
A vial of the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine at a cold storage facility in Karachi, on March 19, 2021. (Photographer: Asim Hafeez/Bloomberg)

Russia Says One-Shot Sputnik Light Vaccine Has 79% Efficacy

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Russia has approved a single-dose version of the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine after it showed almost 80% efficacy, according to the state-run fund that backed its development.

The 79.4% efficacy rate of the vaccine, called Sputnik Light, is based on an analysis of real-world data rather than a standard clinical trial, and interim results from final-stage study are expected later this month, according to a statement Thursday from the Russian Direct Investment Fund. Early and mid-stage studies showed no serious adverse events, RDIF said.

One injection of Sputnik Light “significantly reduces the possibility of severe cases leading to hospitalization,” RDIF said in the statement.

Russia’s two-dose Sputnik V vaccine rivaled other major shots used in the U.S. and Europe when it showed 92% effectiveness against Covid-19 in a peer-reviewed study. There had been initial skepticism when President Vladimir Putin announced last August that Russia had cleared the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine for use before it even completed safety trials.

While RDIF said more than 20 million people globally have now received one dose of Sputnik V, Russia is having trouble persuading its own citizens to get vaccinated. Only about 8% of the population has had the first dose amid fears of a rising wave of infections.

The two-dose Sputnik V will remain the main vaccine in Russia, Kirill Dmitriev, RDIF chief executive officer, said in a telephone interview. The light version “is mostly for countries that have a significant Covid surge that they need to put down quickly,” he said.

“We expect registration of Sputnik Light in several countries as early as next week,” Dmitriev said, adding that the fund was following Russian regulatory procedures.

Since the vaccine is the same as the first dose of Sputnik V, “we believe that by June Sputnik Light will be registered pretty much in most of the countries that registered Sputnik V,” Dmitriev said in a webinar. Sputnik Light may also work as “a booster shot” to other Covid-19 vaccines in protecting against mutations of the virus, subject to additional clinical trials, he said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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