NEW YORK, November 28. /TASS/. Russia’s Sputnik V anti-coronavirus vaccine may offer a slightly better protection against the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, in comparison with other vaccines, Professor of the School of Systems Biology of the George Mason University (Virginia, US) Ancha Baranova told TASS.
"[US company] Pfizer has already issued a statement that it would run experiments within two weeks on how [the new variant] can be neutralized, and will make an announcement on how this virus interacts with antibodies," she said. "In fact, this data will be relevant for all other vaccines based on a full-sized antigen. Pfizer’s data will be roughly accurate for Sputnik," she said.
"Sputnik may perform a bit better, for several percent. Adenoviral vaccines in general trigger a broader immune response than mRNA vaccines. But the difference may be very small," the expert continued.
In her opinion, present-day vaccines may turn out to be less effective against the new variant. "We will find this out from figures in Pfizer’s data. This information will most likely be relevant for Sputnik as well," the expert continued. "All vaccines contain approximately the same set of genes."
The data on the new SARS-CoV-2 variant, B.1.1.529, which was identified in the south of Africa, was put on the international database GISAID on November 22.
The WHO expressed concern over reports from South Africa about the rapid spread of the infection in the densely-populated Gauteng province, which may indicate the strain’s high transmissibility. Several countries have suspended air service with South Africa and other countries in the south of Africa.
Suspected cases of the omicron variant have been reported in the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Austria. Confirmed cases have been registered in Belgium, Israel, Hong Kong, Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy.