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3 Nov, 2021 11:44

Russia’s single-dose Covid-19 jab, Sputnik Light, is safe & stimulates ‘strong’ immune response, new Lancet study of vaccine finds

Russia’s single-dose Covid-19 jab, Sputnik Light, is safe & stimulates ‘strong’ immune response, new Lancet study of vaccine finds

A Moscow-made coronavirus vaccine that requires just one injection is safe and offers good protection against the most severe outcomes of infection, a new scientific study published in a leading medical journal has concluded.

The research, made available in The Lancet on Tuesday, found that the formula reliably stimulated the formation of antibodies, with the team citing previous studies that have shown the overall effectiveness of Sputnik Light was 78.6%, reducing hospitalizations from the virus by around 88% and slashing the number of deaths by almost 85%.

The authors of the study, which include Alexander Gintsburg, the head of Moscow's Gamaleya Center biomedical research institute where the jab was pioneered, conclude that "Sputnik Light has a good safety profile and induces a strong humoral and cellular immune response" in both those who already have antibodies to Covid-19 and those who don't.

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The formula was trialled in more than a hundred participants, whose health has been monitored since January this year. No serious side-effects were reported.

Sputnik Light, which consists of the first component of Russia's flagship Sputnik V two-dose vaccine, has already been approved for use in the country, and is also being deployed as a booster for those who have already been immunized. In those who already have antibodies, the team behind the study said that there was an "in theory unprecedented 98.4% initial protection efficacy." This, they add, indicates that it is a good candidate for 'topping up' those who have already had a jab.

Previous studies have shown that Sputnik Light offers a high level of protection against the more infectious 'Delta' strain of Covid-19. Last month, Indian pharmaceutical giant Dr. Reddy's Laboratories said that it would conduct its own trials to investigate the potential for the one-shot vaccine in children and as a booster for other vaccines. According to the company, research will begin this month.

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Russian officials have called on the public to sign up for vaccinations against coronavirus in recent days, as the number of positive tests and deaths in the country hits record levels since the start of the pandemic. On Tuesday, 1,178 people were reported to have passed away from the virus, an all-time high, and more than 39,000 new cases were logged.

In Moscow, restaurants, cafes and non-essential shops have been shuttered under plans to reduce the sharp spike in deaths. Last month, the city's mayor, Sergey Sobyanin, said that "the situation in Moscow is in line with the worst-case scenario. In the coming days, we will hit historic peaks in the incidence of Covid-19."

Bosses have been told to send employees home and a national holiday has been extended. Sobyanin has said that Muscovites must now "take a little rest and help to save the lives and health of many people – then the city can return to normal life."

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