İrem UZUN -TDO- According to the BBC news, UK and Russian scientists are teaming up to trial a combination of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Sputnik V vaccines to see if protection against COVID-19 can be improved. It is believed that mixing two similar vaccines could lead to a better immune response in people.

Trials will start by the end of the year, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which funded the development of the Sputnik V vaccine by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute, said on Friday. AstraZeneca confirmed that it was considering how it could assess combinations of different vaccines, and would soon begin exploring with the Gamaleya Institute whether their two vaccines could be successfully combined. “Combinations of different COVID-19 vaccines may be an important step in generating wider protection through a stronger immune response and better accessibility,” AstraZeneca said in its statement. It added that cooperation with the Gamaleya Research Institute is “important to explore the potential of vaccine combinations unlocking synergies in protection and accessibility through a portfolio approach.”

The British-made Oxford vaccine, developed in partnership with AstraZeneca, and the Russian Sputnik vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute in Moscow, are similar because they both contain genetic material from the Sars-CoV-2 spike protein. They work differently to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has been approved in the UK, Canada, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and recommended for approval by medical experts in the U.S.

Russia gave Sputnik V emergency-use authorization on August 11, making it the world's first vaccine to be approved. The country has been giving it to frontline healthcare workers, though it hasn't started mass vaccination yet because it's still in trial stages.  Russia says the vaccine is more than 90% effective.

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