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Putin says collaboration between UK’s AstraZeneca and makers of Russian Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine ‘good for whole world’

Putin says collaboration between UK’s AstraZeneca and makers of Russian Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine ‘good for whole world’
British pharma giant AstraZeneca’s decision to begin combining its Covid-19 vaccine with Russia’s Sputnik V formula in a bid to improve efficacy is a step forward in fighting the virus, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

Speaking on Thursday as part of his annual end-of-year press conference, Putin expressed his happiness at the fact that “Astra Zeneca is ready to work with us,” adding that “it's very pleasing when specialists join forces like this. The result will be good not only for our citizens, but for the whole world.”

The president, who has previously said he would wait his turn to access a vaccine, pointed out that it is, in theory, not currently available for people like him. At present, the roll-out is of Sputnik V in Russia is only intended for those working in essential professions, such as teachers and healthcare workers. However, reports have emerged that, in practice, there are few checks on who is signing up for appointments.

Also on rt.com UK’s AstraZeneca to team up with creators of Russia’s Sputnik V on Covid-19 vaccine trials, cites potential 'wider protection'

Putin acknowledged that there were still problems with logistics and supply of the jab, but said that “in general, the industry has reacted well. At the beginning of the pandemic, they didn't know what it was, how to treat it. And there was no vaccine… our country became the first in the world to produce a vaccine – an effective and safe one. And there are no cases of serious side effects.”

Last week, Cambridge-based AstraZeneca announced that it would team up with scientists from Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, which developed Sputnik V, to determine whether their own experimental formula could produce better results if it incorporated elements of the Russian jab. The Russian offering, its creators say, has proven effective in 95 percent of participants given two shots as part of clinical trials.

In November, AstraZeneca said its own vaccine had shown a 70-percent efficacy average. It is hoped that trials using the two different formulas together will improve that figure.

At the time, the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which financed the Gamaleya Institute’s research, told journalists that it was “an example of Russia’s proactive approach: it has not only created one of the world’s most effective vaccines to date against the coronavirus, but is ready to share Sputnik V vectors with those willing to produce vaccines using the two-vector technology.”

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