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5 Feb, 2021 10:19

Most Russians could be vaccinated against Covid-19 by summer, as Sputnik V creator reveals doses can be kept unfrozen for 2 months

Most Russians could be vaccinated against Covid-19 by summer, as Sputnik V creator reveals doses can be kept unfrozen for 2 months

As Russia looks to expand its mass inoculation program, the developer of the country's Sputnik V vaccine has revealed it can be stored for two months at 2-8°C for, a much higher temperature than some of its foreign equivalents.

In an interview with TASS news agency, the director of the Gamaleya Center revealed that it will be possible to vaccinate the majority of Russia's population in the first six months of 2021.

"Given the level of the vaccine production that exists, I think that, by mid-year, we should achieve the necessary level of 60 percent of the [population] protected," Alexander Gintsburg said.

Also on rt.com Western media smeared Moscow’s Covid-19 vaccine efforts but new trial data now has countries queuing for Sputnik V Covid-19 jab

In the same interview, Gintsburg revealed one benefit of Sputnik V over the US vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna: the storage temperatures needed. When the Russian formula was first produced, it was only allowed to be stored at -18°C, but the latest recommendations have bumped that up by around 20 degrees.

"The instructions for the drug included the possibility of storing it at the temperature of an ordinary household refrigerator, not at -18, for two months," he said, noting, however, that this is still a short amount of time. "With further work, hopefully, this period will be increased to six months."

According to official recommendations, the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine needs to be stored between -80°C and -60°C, and the Moderna version between -25º to -15ºC.

By not having to pay for expensive freezers, the cost of logistics is significantly reduced.

Sputnik V was announced last August by Russian President Vladimir Putin as the world's first registered Covid-19 vaccine. Earlier this week, British medical journal The Lancet published results of the Phase-III trials, which revealed an efficacy of 91.6 percent.

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