Russia Plans To Develop Polyvalent COVID-19 Vaccine, Covering Omicron, Delta To Wuhan Variants
Illustration of researchers at the Gamaleya Center, Russia. (Source: TASS/Mikhail Metzel)

JAKARTA - Russia's Gamaleya National Research Center is considering the possibility of developing a polyvalent vaccine against infection with the new coronavirus, based on different strains such as Delta and Omicron, Denis Logunov, deputy director of the Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology, said on Sunday.

"(The possibility) is being considered and discussed to develop a polyvalent Sputnik (vaccine) that includes the Delta, Omicron, and Wuhan variants (Wuhan strain, the original strain of the coronavirus). It is possible to develop a more complex vaccine," he said in an interview with Rossiya-TV channel 1, citing TASS on January 17.

Logunov detailed that some of the vaccines based on the Wuhan or Delta strains would be able to protect against infection with new coronavirus variants. While the other part is based on the Omicron variant, it will protect those vaccinated against the virus that has mutated from Omicron.

Speaking about the further development of the situation, he noted, due to the Omicron strain, the number of cases of the new coronavirus will greatly increase.

"It's too early to relax until these Omicron waves subside," Logunov concluded.

Separately, The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has provided all the necessary documents on the Sputnik V anti-coronavirus vaccine to the World Health Organization (WHO) for review, WHO Representative to Russia Melita Vujnovic said last weekend.

"On December 30, the Direct Investment Fund submitted all necessary documents to WHO. We expect inspections to be carried out in February," he said.

In December 2021, WHO Spokesperson Christian Lindmeier told TASS, last October, the RDIF signed all necessary agreements to review the Sputnik V application, for inclusion in the EUL (Emergency Use List).

In late November, WHO and RDIF discussed the need for additional data on vaccine quality, safety, and efficacy, and RDIF pledged to provide a detailed data delivery roadmap so WHO could expedite assessment procedures.

Dmitry Birichevsky, director of the Russian foreign ministry's department of economic cooperation, said in December his ministry expects the WHO to approve the Sputnik V vaccine in the first half of this year.

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