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25 Jan, 2022 16:51

French expert explains why he thinks Sputnik is effective booster for Covid jabs

A study has concluded that the Russian vaccine can enhance the immune response to mutations of Covid-19 when used as a booster
French expert explains why he thinks Sputnik is effective booster for Covid jabs

A leading French vaccine scientist, Cecil Czerkinsky, has said he is convinced by the findings of an Italian-Russian study that showed Sputnik Light, a one-shot version of the Sputnik V Covid-19 jab, provided significantly increased protection against the Omicron variant when used as a booster.

The paper, prepared by Italy’s Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases and Moscow’s Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology, which created the jab, has also revealed the Russian vaccine is 2.6 times more effective against Omicron than the Pfizer shot.

“Booster vaccination with mix & match vaccines, including Sputnik Light, is efficient against mutations,” Czerkinsky said, as cited by Sputnik V’s account on Twitter.

The scientist currently works as the research director at the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (IMCP), based in the Sophia-Antipolis Science Park on the French Riviera. Local media often quotes Czerkinsky as an expert on the issues of jabs and vaccination.

The study, which came out in preprint version last week, “convincingly shows that adenovirus vectored Sputnik is capable of enhancing neutralizing antibody responses not only to Delta but also to Omicron when used as stand-alone homologous vaccine booster and as booster in combination with an mRNA vaccine,” he pointed out.

The Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 jabs use mRNA technology and are among the most widely used in the West.  

Russia is offering its Sputnik Light as a universal booster to many other foreign vaccines to strengthen and lengthen the immune response to Omicron, Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which financed the jab’s development and oversees its distribution, told RT last week.

“We believe that the Sputnik and Pfizer shots will work well together,” Dmitriev said, adding that the publication of the results of the study was a “message of cooperation,” not competition.

Despite boasting high efficacy and being supplied to more than 70 countries, Sputnik V still hasn’t been greenlighted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the EU’s European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Both the RDIF head and the Gamaleya Center’s director, Alexander Gintsburg, expressed confidence that the study, involving the EU-based Spallanzani Institute, “the top viral institute in Italy,” is going to speed up the approval process.

Czerkinsky isn’t the only Western expert who is impressed by the findings of the paper. A top US vaccine specialist, Professor Hildegund Ertl of the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, called its results “extremely promising.” She explained that the disparities in the virus-neutralizing response by the Sputnik V and Pfizer vaccines might “reflect differences in the antigen structure and duration of its expression.”

Ancha Baranova, a molecular biology specialist at George Mason University’s Institute for Biohealth Innovation in Virginia, also confirmed that Sputnik V produced “more various antibody types,” which increased chances of countering Omicron and other mutations. She added that the Pfizer jab was too narrowly tailored to tackle the original Covid-19.