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MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian developers of the Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 said on Tuesday they have applied for domestic approval of a single-dose “light” version, and that trials of it in Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Ghana have already begun.
The slimmed-down shot is not expected to be as effective as the original vaccine, said Arsen Kubataev, of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund marketing the vaccine abroad.
But the outlook for it is “optimistic”, he said.
RDIF has previously suggested the one-shot version of Sputnik V could be a “temporary” solution for countries with high infections rates that need to make the vaccine go further.
Sputnik Light has already been tested in smaller-scale, Phase I/II clinical trials, Kubataev said, adding that an application for approval of the vaccine based on results from these trials has now been filed.
“In parallel, we have already launched international clinical Phase III trials,” he said, that will test its efficacy.
The two-dose Sputnik V vaccine was shown to be 91.6% effective in fighting COVID-19 based on peer-reviewed late-stage trial results published in The Lancet international medical journal in early February.
Around 2,000 people have already received the shot, which consists of just one of the two doses, each based on a different adenovirus vector, that make up Sputnik V proper.
Overall, Kubataev said he expects 7,000 people to take part. Interim results on the efficacy of Sputnik Light can be expected in June.
Moscow has said its two-dose Sputnik V vaccine will remain the main version used in Russia. President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that 4.3 million Russians had received both shots of the vaccine and that he would get vaccinated on Tuesday.
Writing by Polina Ivanova; Editing by Bernadette Baum