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Russia to test “Sputnik Light” version of its vaccine

Russia will conduct clinical trials with the Sputnik Light single-dose vaccine, of its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, which is put on twice, Reuters reported.
The preparation will constitute a “temporary measure” for countries where high levels of infection are recorded. The single-dose reduced vaccine will be tested on 150 people in Moscow and St Petersburg, data from a government clinical testing register show, BTA reports.

According to authorities, over one million Russians were immunized with the original Sputnik V vaccine, which is administered in two doses. It was named after a Soviet-era satellite that kickstarted the space race and betrayed the geopolitical significance for Moscow of its antiviral preparation.

The two-dose vaccine will be the main version to be used in Russia, said Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia's sovereign health fund, which is responsible for marketing Sputnik V abroad. “The single-dose version will be used for export and could serve as an effective temporary solution for countries where the peak of coronavirus infection is observed,” said Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which will bear the cost of the tests of the lite version of Sputnik. Several governments around the world are looking at the possibility of making up for shortages of Covid-19 vaccines by delaying the second dose or by reducing their volume.

The aim is to maximise the number of people who have partial immunity, thereby reducing the number of severe cases and the burden on health systems.

Both doses of Sputnik V are administered using inactivated viruses known as vectors. Some Russian manufacturers find the second vector more unstable in production, resulting in surpluses of the first component. President Putin said recently that the single dose would provide less protection than a double one, but would still reach 85 percent. Developers from the Gamalea Institute claim that with the use of both doses, its efficacy reaches 91 percent, and its protection lasts 3-4 months.

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