Russia is ready to conduct clinical trials in Ukraine of a COVID-19 vaccine combining its Sputnik V with a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca together with Oxford University, the head of Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said on Saturday.
Russia’s sovereign RDIF, which is marketing the Sputnik V vaccine abroad, announced in December trials to test a combination of the AstraZeneca vaccine with the Sputnik V shot to see if this can boost the efficacy of the British drugmaker’s vaccine.
Meanwhile, India has approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, paving the way for a huge immunisation campaign in the world’s second most populous country.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters on Saturday the vaccine had been given the green light on Friday, confirming what sources close to the matter had told Reuters.
It is the first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved for emergency use by India, which has the highest number of infections after the United States, and comes on the day the country is running a nationwide mock drill for vaccine delivery.
Javadekar said at least three more vaccines were waiting to be approved – local company Bharat Biotch’s COVAXIN, Zydus Cadila’s ZyCoV-D and Russia’s Sputnik-V.
“India is perhaps the only country where at least four vaccines are getting ready,” he said.
“One was approved yesterday for emergency use, Serum’s COVISHIELD.” he said, referring to the fact that the AstraZeneca/Oxford shot is being made locally by the Serum Institute of India (SII).