AstraZeneca to Test Combining Its Covid-19 Vaccine With Russia’s
(Bloomberg) -- AstraZeneca Plc plans to start a clinical trial combining its Covid-19 vaccine with Russia’s Sputnik V in an effort to determine whether the two inoculations work better together than individually.
This “may be an important step in generating wider protection through a stronger immune response and better accessibility,” the company said in a website statement. Volunteers aged 18 and older will be enrolled in the trial that will assess safety and immunogenicity of a combination of AZD1222, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and Sputnik V, developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute, according to the statement.
The trial will begin before the end of the year and use one of the two shots that make up Sputnik V - the component based on the Ad26 human adenovirus, according to the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which is the vaccine’s main backer. Russia offered Astra to use its vaccine in trial after the preliminary results showed Sputnik’s efficacy at above 90%, RDIF said.
Based on a monkey-adenovirus vector, AstraZeneca’s vaccine reported average effectiveness of 70%. Sputnik is the only Covid-19 vaccine to use two different human-adenovirus vectors, according to RDIF.
Astra declined to comment on whether the company would wait for approval of the Sputnik vaccine from western regulators before starting the trials. Neither Astra nor RDIF would comment on where the trial will take place.
The U.K. vaccine taskforce announced earlier that it plans to test a combination of Astra’s vaccine with one from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE next year.
Sputnik V has faced questions since Russian authorities approved it in August, before the completion of Phase 3 trials to confirm its safety and effectiveness. Russia started mass vaccination this week and 150,000 people have been inoculated altogether, according to Gamaleya’s director Alexander Gintsburg.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.