KEY POINTS

  • The study took samples from 51 Sputnik V recipients and 17 Pfizer recipients
  • Omicron-specific neutralizing antibodies were found in over 74% of Sputnik V recipients: Study
  • The study has not yet been peer-reviewed

Sputnik V, a COVID-19 vaccine made in Russia, offers higher levels of antibodies against the Omicron variant than the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, a new study has found. 

A small preliminary study funded by the Russian Direct Investment Fund — which markets Sputnik V abroad — studied the levels of Omicron-specific neutralizing antibodies in 51 people who received the Russian-made vaccine and 17 individuals who were fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine. The samples were taken three to six months after the second dose.

The joint Russian-Italian study was conducted by scientists from the Spallanzani Institute in Italy and Gamaleya Institute in Moscow, which developed the Sputnik V vaccine. 

The study found that Omicron-specific neutralizing antibodies were found in 74.2% or 37 individuals who received two doses of Sputnik V. In comparison, antibodies were found only in 56.9% or 9 people who got two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. 

“The joint study by the Gamaleya Center and Spallanzani Institute confirmed the results obtained in our separate study published in December 2021,” Alexander Gintsburg, Director of the National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology, said in a press release published by the Russian Direct Investment Fund. 

“The hard scientific data proves Sputnik V has higher virus neutralizing activity against Omicron as compared to other vaccines and will play a major role in the global fight against this new contagious variant.”

The findings from the study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, echo data from an earlier preliminary study by the Gamelaya Institute that found that a booster shot of Sputnik Light increased antibody levels against Omicron in people who received two doses of the Sputnik V alone. 

The study comes as Russia sees dramatic growth in COVID-19 cases fueled by the Omicron variant. Over the past 24 hours, the country recorded 38,850 new infections, bringing the total toll to 10,93261 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, data from the country’s health department showed.

Russia’s current COVID-19 death toll stands at 324,060, the fourth highest in the world behind India, with 487,693 deaths; Brazil, with 622,457 deaths; and the United States, with 860,100 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The RDIF says its two-dose Sputnik V vaccine has been approved in 68 countries, representing nearly half the global population The RDIF says its two-dose Sputnik V vaccine has been approved in 68 countries, representing nearly half the global population Photo: AFP / ALFREDO ESTRELLA