- The Gamaleya Institute believes both Sputnik V and Sputnik Light will neutralize the Omicron variant
- The Sputnik V and Sputnik Light vaccines have proven to be highly effective against all variants
- WHO warns that new virus variant poses ''very high'' risk
The Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V and Sputnik Light vaccines are expected to neutralise the new coronavirus variant Omicron, the Gamaleya Institute has said.
The Gamaleya Institute believes that both Sputnik V and Sputnik Light will neutralise the latest Omicron variant, Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said in a statement.
Kirill Dmitriev said that the Gamaleya Institute, based on existing protocols of immediately developing vaccine versions for variants of concern, has already begun developing the new version of Sputnik vaccine adapted to Omicron.
However, in an unlikely case such modification is needed, the new Sputnik Omicron version can be made ready for mass-scale production in 45 days, he added.
"The Gamaleya Institute believes that Sputnik V and Sputnik Light will neutralise Omicron as they have the highest efficacy against other mutations. In an unlikely case a modification is needed, we will provide several Sputnik Omicron boosters by February 20, 2022," said Dmitriev.
The Russian Sputnik V and Sputnik Light vaccines have proven to be highly effective against all variants of SARC-Cov-2 known to date. The RDIF said that Sputnik vaccine's efficacy is based on the heterogeneous boosting approach using two different vectors for two shots, pioneered by the Gamaleya Institute, and a proven adenoviral vector platform, which triggers a broader immune response as compared to mRNA vaccines.
The B.1.1.529 variant, named Omicron, was first reported to WHO from South Africa on November 24. The global health body said on Monday that Omicron is a highly divergent variant with a high number of mutations, including 26-32 in the spike, some of which are concerning and may be associated with immune escape potential and higher transmissibility. However, there are still considerable uncertainties, added the global health body.
(with IANS inputs)