Russian Sputnik shot less effective vs South Africa variant but better than others — report

Bottles of Russia's "Sputnik-V" COVID-19 vaccine

FILE PHOTO: Bottles of Russia’s “Sputnik-V” COVID-19 vaccine are seen before inoculation at a clinic in Tver, Russia, October 12, 2020. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva

MOSCOW — Russia’s Sputnik V shot is less effective against the South African COVID-19 variant but still does better than other vaccines, the lead scientist behind it was quoted as saying on Friday.

“With regards to the ‘South African’ variant, the effectiveness of the antibodies produced by Sputnik V, like all other vaccines, against it declines,” Alexander Gintsburg said in a interview with the Interfax news agency.


He said that Sputnik V was tested against the British and South African variants, as well as the original strain, first detected in China’s Wuhan province, by laboratories in the United States. The labs used blood samples collected from people vaccinated with Sputnik V in Argentina, Gintsburg said.

Underlining that Russian researchers played no part in the lab tests, Gintsburg said that the results in trials of Sputnik V against the Wuhan strain confirmed what his team at Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute found.

“It has also been shown that of all the vaccines currently in use in the world, Sputnik V… is best at neutralizing the ‘British’ variant well,” Gintsburg said.

Though the antibody response against the South African variant was less intense, the decline was significantly smaller than the drop other vaccines showed, Gintsburg was cited as saying.

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