AstraZeneca Uses One of the Components of the Russian Sputnik V Vaccine in Testing its Own Vaccine

14 December 2020

GMP News

After the Sputnik V vaccine’s clinical trial preliminary results showed its efficacy at above 90 percent, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund) and Gamaleya Institute on November 23, 2020 offered AstraZeneca to use one of the two components (human adenoviral vectors1) of the Sputnik V vaccine in AstraZeneca’s clinical trials.

AstraZeneca accepted RDIF’s proposal and will begin clinical trials of its vaccine in combination with Sputnik V’s human adenoviral vector type Ad26 by the end of 2020. This research will allow AstraZeneca’s scientists to study the possibility of boosting their vaccine’s efficacy through the application of this combined approach.

Sputnik V is among the world’s most effective and safe vaccines due to its unique technology combining two different human adenoviral vectors providing for a stronger and longer-term immune response compared to vaccines using the same component for both inoculations2.

The regimen with two different adenoviral vectors for a prime and a boost immunization is a unique and ground-breaking discovery of the Gamaleya Center scientists. It helps to completely avoid immunity to the first vector, which forms after the first inoculation and thus to raise efficacy and create long-term immunity. Among the leading COVID-19 vaccines only Sputnik V is using the two-vector technology.

RDIF’s offer to AstraZeneca was an example of Russia’s proactive approach: it has not only created one of the world’s most effective vaccines to date against coronavirus, but is ready to share Sputnik V vectors with those willing to produce vaccines using the two-vector technology.

Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, commented:

“This unique example of cooperation between scientists from different countries in jointly fighting coronavirus will play a decisive role in achieving a final victory over the pandemic globally. Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is already saving people’s lives in Russia today through a large-scale vaccination programme. The decision by AstraZeneca to carry out clinical trials using one of two vectors of Sputnik V in order to increase its own vaccine’s efficacy is an important step towards uniting efforts in the fight against the pandemic. We welcome the beginning of this new stage of cooperation between vaccine producers. We are determined to develop this partnership in the future and to start joint production after the new vaccine demonstrates its efficacy in the course of clinical trials. We hope that other vaccine producers will follow our example.”


1 – Human adenoviral vector is a common cold virus, which has been with humankind for over 100 000 years. It lacks a gene responsible for reproduction and is used to transport into a cell genetic material from another virus that is being vaccinated against, in this case SARS-COV-2 which causes novel coronavirus infection. The vector as well as genetic material inside it do not pose any hazard to the body.

2 – For example, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson&Johnson as well as other two-dose vaccine producers use the same component for both inoculations in their vaccines.

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