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Sputnik V Developers to Putin: Trials Show the Russian Vaccine Neutralises Omicron Strain

© REUTERS / DADO RUVICA vial labelled "Sputnik V coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine" is seen in this illustration picture taken on 2 May 2021.
A vial labelled Sputnik V coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine is seen in this illustration picture taken on 2 May 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.12.2021
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The new variant, discovered in South Africa last month, proved to be highly contagious and has become the dominant COVID-19 strain in many countries across the world.

"I spoke with the head of the Gameleya institute, they conducted a study, and Sputnik V will definitely neutralise the new omicron variant", Putin said during the ongoing informal summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States. "He told me that only clinical trials can give a final answer, but the level of [Omicron] neutralisation is very high".

The Russian president also stressed that the current level of immunisation (around 56 percent) is not enough, as Russia should aim for 90-95 percent.
The statement confirms preliminary reports from the Russian Direct Investment Fund saying that Sputnik V "has demonstrated 3-7x less of a reduction in virus-neutralising activity against Omicron as compared to data from other vaccine producers".
© Sputnik / Mikhail Metzel / Go to the mediabankRussian President Vladimir Putin gives an annual end-of-year news conference at the Manezh Central Exhibition Hall, in Moscow, Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin gives an annual end-of-year news conference at the Manezh Central Exhibition Hall, in Moscow, Russia - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.12.2021
Russian President Vladimir Putin gives an annual end-of-year news conference at the Manezh Central Exhibition Hall, in Moscow, Russia
In the meantime, Anna Popova, head of the Russian consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, said that the strain is currently not dominant in Russia. According to her, data from African countries shows that the variant is highly transmissible, but the course of the disease is not as grave as for other COVID-19 strains.
The Omicron was initially detected in South Africa and Botswana in November and sparked major concerns due to its high number of mutations (32). The WHO said it was a variant of concern and warned that it may prove to be more transmissible and dangerous than other strains.
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