Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which financially backs the Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V, has claimed that the vaccine has demonstrated strong protection against Omicron variant, with over two times higher virus-neutralising activity compared to the Pfizer vaccine.

Quoting a comparative study, conducted by the National Institute for Infectious Diseases Lazzaro Spallanzani (Italy), it said two doses of Sputnik V provide more than two times higher geometric mean titers (GMT) of virus-neutralising antibodies to the Omicron variant than two doses of Pfizer vaccine.

The findings of the study, conducted by a team of 12 Italian and nine Russian scientists, were published in medRxiv. The research team was led by Francesco Vaia, Director of the Spallanzani Institute, and Alexander Gintsburg, Director of the Gamaleya Center.

The study was conducted on comparable groups of sera from individuals vaccinated with Sputnik V and Pfizer, with no statistically significant difference in neutralising activity against the Wuhan variant.

About 74.2 per cent of Sputnik V-vaccinated sera were able to neutralise Omicron, while it was 56.9 per cent in the case of Pfizer-vaccinated people. RDIF said previous studies also demonstrated additional significant strengthening of protection against Omicron by Sputnik Light booster, which can also be a universal booster to other vaccines to strengthen and lengthen their protection against Omicron.

RDIF said that the Sputnik team “stands for the open and transparent comparison of different vaccines”, and has initiated partnerships with other vaccine producers to conduct joint studies in a number of countries.

Cocktail doses

A ‘mix-and-match’ trial of a combination of Sputnik Light with vaccines produced by AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, Moderna and Cansino, conducted in Argentina, showed that Sputnik Light induces stronger antibody and T-cell response compared to homologous regimen (two shots of the same vaccine).

Claiming that that Sputnik Light is a universal booster to other vaccines, the Sputnik team called for global comparative studies on Sputnik Light and other boosters to Covid vaccines.

“Any efforts to deter these comparative mix-and-match studies delay the end of the pandemic as the advantages of this most efficient approach will not be utilised,” said RDIF in a statement.