New Russian COVID-19 Vaccine Convasel Effective Against ‘Stealth Omicron’, FMBA Head Says

© AP Photo / David GoldmanIn this Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 file photo, a droplet falls from a syringe after a health care worker was injected with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a hospital in Providence, R.I.
In this Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 file photo, a droplet falls from a syringe after a health care worker was injected with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a hospital in Providence, R.I. - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.03.2022
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Russian vaccine Convasel will be effective against the BA.2 COVID-19 subvariant, known as "stealth Omicron," the head of the Federal Medical-Biological Agency (FMBA), Veronika Skvortsova, said on Saturday.
The Russian Health Ministry registered FMBA's Convasel vaccine on Friday.
"Stealth Omicron [BA.2], which has already taken over BA.1 Omicron variant in Moscow, differs by 28 mutations. These mutations are mainly found in the S-protein and in non-structural proteins, they do not affect the N-protein in those blocks that are used for the vaccine, so the vaccine will be effective, and we are already seeing this now," Skvortsova told Rossiya 24 broadcaster.
The BA.2 subvariant was nicknamed "stealth Omicron" because it doesn't show up on PCR tests as an S-gene target failure the way Omicron does. Health experts have also warned that the variant may be more transmissible and cause worse symptoms than BA.1.
Sputnik V is Russia's and the world's pioneer COVID-19 vaccine, registered in August 2020. The two-dose vaccine has a single-dose version, Sputnik Light, and a version for teenagers, Sputnik M. Russia also produces three other COVID-19 vaccines, including Covivac, EpiVacCorona and EpiVacCorona N.
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