Russia says the Sputnik V vaccine is effective against the Omicron strain

The Gamaleya Institute says the Sputnik V vaccine can prevent the Omicron strain, while the Kremlin says many places are reacting based on emotions.

“The Gamaleya Institute believes that Sputnik V and Sputnik Light will neutralize the Omicron variant because they are most effective against other strains. In case a booster vaccine is really needed, we can supply hundreds of millions of people. dose of vaccine before February 20, 2022,” Kirill Dmitriev, director of Russia’s Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the agency that invests and promotes Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine abroad, wrote on Twitter yesterday.

The Kremlin previously said more data was needed before drawing conclusions about the Omicron variant. “The reactions in the market today are emotional, not based on scientific evidence. The whole world is trying to determine how dangerous this strain is,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Two doses of the Sputnik V vaccine were produced at Russia's Gamaleya Institute in 2020. Photo: Reuters.

Two doses of the Sputnik V vaccine were produced at Russia’s Gamaleya Institute in 2020. Photo: Reuters.

The Gamaleya Institute, which developed Sputnik V, said in June that the vaccine was 90% effective against the Delta variant. Director of Gamaleya Institute Alexander Gintsburg affirmed that Sputnik V is safe and effective in dealing with nCoV strains.

Sputnik V is prepared using virus vector technology, which uses a harmless virus to introduce the nCoV protein into human cells, helping to stimulate the immune system’s response. The immune system will recognize pathogens, produce antibodies or T cells (immune cells) to protect themselves.

The advantage of Sputnik V is that it can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures instead of freezing conditions much lower than some other vaccines.

Version V of Sputnik V includes two injections that have not been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The director of the RDIF last week said that Russia is expecting a group of WHO experts to come to work in December to review and approve Sputnik V.

The Omicron mutation was first recorded in South Africa and some neighboring countries in mid-November, then spread to all continents. WHO lists Omicron as a variant of concern, saying it is not clear whether this strain is more contagious or makes the disease more severe than other strains.

Vu Anh (Follow Reuters)

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