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Creators of Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine sign Putin-backed deal with UK pharma giant AstraZeneca in bid to boost efficacy

The partnership, originally proposed by the Russian team over Twitter and announced at the start of December, will see the pharma giant trial its Covid-19 vaccine candidate in combination with the Russian-made Sputnik-V jab.

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with drug company bosses via video link on Monday morning, congratulating them on reaching the agreement. He said that “this attitude towards partnership today can serve as a good, convincing example of combining scientific forces, technology, investment for a common goal – to protect the lives, health and safety of millions of people on the planet as a whole.”

Clinical trials will now determine whether AstraZeneca’s formula can produce better results by incorporating elements of Sputnik V. The Russian offering, its creators say, has proven effective in 95 percent of participants given two shots as part of clinical trials. In November, AstraZeneca said its own vaccine had shown a 70 percent efficacy average. It is hoped that trials using the two different formulas together will improve that figure.

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