Developers announced the high efficiency of “Sputnik” against the “Omicron”

(ORDO NEWS) — If the blood plasma of those vaccinated with other vaccines neutralizes the omicron strain 20-40 times worse than the “delta”, then the plasma of those vaccinated with the Russian vector drug does it only 11.8 times worse. Since protection depends on neutralization non-linearly, we can talk about a fairly high level of efficiency.

As Naked Science already wrote , “omicron” reliably infects vaccinated and recovered from Covid-19 much more often than all previous strains of SARS-CoV-2 did. However, an important question is how much protection against vaccines falls: this will determine how quickly it will be necessary to develop new drugs to replace the old ones.

To do this, a number of researchers around the world have used the blood plasma of people vaccinated with different vaccines. They compared how many times it had to be diluted in order to neutralize the omicron. In practice, it is difficult to work with a live omicron (it is dangerous and requires a laboratory of a very high level of biosecurity), therefore, a pseudo virus imitating a new strain is used in experiments.

Earlier, Alexander Ginsburg, head of the NF Gabaliya Research Center, noted: if the permissible dilution has to be reduced only two to six times, then the drop in vaccine protection will be insignificant, that is, Sputnik will be effective against omicron as well.

A group of foreign researchers a few days ago published a work in the bioRxiv preprint archive, according to which the blood plasma of those vaccinated with Sputnik-V allegedly does not neutralize the new variant of the virus at all. If so, the vaccine would protect against infection by about zero percent. However, the preprint raised doubts: according to it, those vaccinated with Sputnik have less antibodies in their blood than those vaccinated with AstraZeneca.

Meanwhile, many studies have shown that in fact, after the Russian vaccine, there are much more antibodies than after the British development. This means that the samples chosen by the authors of the preprint are not representative: they were taken from people who, for some reason, had a weak immune response to any vaccines.

Now the staff of the Research Center named after Gabaliya presented preliminary data on their own experiments on neutralizing the omicron strain with the blood plasma of those vaccinated with Sputnik. According to them, the neutralizing ability of the Russian development against the “omicron” fell 11.8 times than it was against the base coronavirus (“Wuhan”). Although the 11.8-fold drop appears to be large, it is several fold weaker than that of Pfizer and even Modena (this latest vaccine is the best in the rest of the world).

Neutralization affects the effectiveness of the vaccine nonlinearly: that is, a drop of 11.8 times means a decrease in the effectiveness of Sputnik-V from about 90%, not 11.8 times, but by a few tens of percent. How much is difficult to say yet, but Sputnik is unlikely to protect against omicron much weaker than AstraZeneca – from the base strain.

However, AstraZeneca, calling things by their proper names, is a rather weak vaccine – against the background, for example, of the effectiveness of the same Sputnik against previous strains of coronavirus. A fall of 11.8 times is noticeably more serious than two to six times, which Ginzburg previously referred to as quite acceptable.

The fact that it is serious is also indicated by another. According to the developers of Sputnik-V, those vaccinated with this drug and then revaccinated by Sputnik-Light may have protection from omicron over 80%. However, booster vaccination raises antibody levels more than primary vaccination. Consequently, the protection of those vaccinated with one “Sputnik-V” is less than 80%, and, possibly, significantly lower.

References to the fact that everyone can be easily revaccinated and thereby raise their protection up to 80% can hardly be called reassuring. The majority of the population of Russia is reluctant to go even for the first vaccination, and they are very little interested in revaccination.

Today, according to the timetable, 15 million should be revaccinated in the country , but in reality , 6 million have done it . That is, for the majority of the inhabitants of Russia, due to their misunderstanding of the need for a third injection, the 80% protection assumed by the developers is simply unattainable.

The question of why Sputnik shows a higher efficiency against omicron than other vaccines is quite interesting. The fact is that the level of antibodies immediately after inoculation with Western mRNA vaccines is even higher than after Sputnik. One possible explanation is that developers Moderna and Pfizer modified the S-protein produced by their vaccines.

This was done in order to raise the efficiency against the original, “Wuhan” variant. However, after the appearance of new strains, this modification could rather interfere with the effectiveness of mRNA drugs. And then a smaller number of antibodies after the “Sputnik” gives more avid antibodies – and those, respectively, better bind the coronavirus.

At the same time, the new data can be perceived as a cause for concern. If the Russian authorities decide that the revaccinated are sufficiently protected, and do not launch the already created Sputnik against the Omicron design, then those who have not undergone revaccination will be quite vulnerable to the new strain. And since the majority of the population of Russia is in no hurry to undergo revaccination, in fact, the country will face a powerful surge in the incidence of Covid-19.

Taking into account the cultural specifics of Russians, a more logical step would be to carry out revaccination and, in parallel, launch a version for omicron into production. However, over the years of the epidemic, the country’s leadership has demonstrated a clear inability to understand the cultural characteristics of its people, which so seriously prevent them from being vaccinated and revaccinated. Therefore, unfortunately, it is possible that the serial production of Sputnik from the omicron will not begin.


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