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AstraZeneca to work on Covid vaccine combinations with Russia’s Sputnik V developers

Russian coronavirus vaccine. © Mikhail Djaparidze/TASS. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

LONDON, Dec 11, 2020, CNBC. British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca said Friday it would soon start work with Russia’s Gamaleya Institute to investigate whether their two coronavirus vaccine candidates could be successfully combined, CNBC reported.

It comes after the developers of the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine approached AstraZeneca via Twitter late last month to ask whether they should try combining both to boost vaccine efficacy.

“Being able to combine different COVID-19 vaccines may be helpful to improved protection and/or to improve vaccine accessibility. This is why it is important to explore different vaccine combinations to help make immunisation programmes more flexible, by allowing physicians greater choice at the time of administering vaccines,” AstraZeneca said in a statement on Friday.

“It is also likely that combining vaccines may lead to improved immunity over a longer-period of time,” it added.

AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, produced in a collaboration with the University of Oxford, is one of several seeking to secure approval from medicine regulators amid rising hopes that a mass vaccination campaign could help end the pandemic.

To date, more than 69 million people have contracted the coronavirus worldwide, with 1.58 million related deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

“Assessing different types of COVID-19 vaccines in combination could help unlock synergies in protection and improve vaccine accessibility and could provide an additional approach to help overcome this deadly virus,” AstraZeneca said.

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