The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has reported positive preliminary safety data from a study assessing the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in combination with the Sputnik Light Covid-19 vaccine in the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Sputnik Light is the first component of the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, which respectively uses human adenovirus serotype 26 and human adenovirus serotype 5 as the first and second components.

This approach was observed to generate a longer and strong immune response against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Based on these findings, RDIF collaborated with different vaccine manufacturers to carry out joint studies of Sputnik Light in combination with international vaccines.

The first collaboration was completed in December 2020, when RDIF, The Gamaleya Center, AstraZeneca and R-Pharm entered a memorandum of intent to partner on vaccine development.

This February, studies were initiated in Azerbaijan to assess the safety and immunogenicity of AstraZeneca Covid-19 shot plus Sputnik Light.

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So far, 50 participants have been inoculated in the Azerbaijan trial, which is said to be the world’s first to assess this combination.

Interim results showed a favourable safety profile without any serious adverse events or Covid-19 cases following vaccination. Preliminary immunogenicity data from the study will be reported this month.

Under a global programme, combinations of various Covid-19 vaccines are being evaluated in clinical trials in multiple countries. Participants are receiving jabs in the UAE and regulators granted approval for trials in Russia and Belarus.

AstraZeneca Russia and Eurasia general manager Irina Panarina said: “A heterogeneous prime-boosting involving administering components of different vaccines to a patient is one of the most promising vaccination regimens to study.

“It is becoming especially relevant now, when the issue of preventing the spread of new strains of coronavirus infection is acute, and the need for revaccination of the population is also coming to a head.

“That is why the results of the study can be of great importance for those countries where both the vaccine by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, and the Sputnik V vaccine are registered.”

In June 2021, AstraZeneca started the inoculation of the first subjects in Phase II/III trial of its Covid-19 variant vaccine, AZD2816, to prevent infection from variant SARS-CoV-2 strains.