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Faced with doubts and delays from AstraZeneca and Janssen, Spain is increasingly interested in Sputnik

Isabella Smith

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From a vaccine that raised many suspicious eyebrows due to its lack of transparency, Sputnik V has come to be taken into account when re-elaborating a vaccination strategy given the delays and problems associated with the AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines (from In fact, the EU will not renew contracts with them ).

More and more countries are interested in it, and there are even autonomous communities that are moving their file unitarily to get hold of a batch of the increasingly prized Russian vaccine .

Sputnik V requires two doses to achieve full immunity . Its efficacy, according to a study published in The Lancet , is 91.7 percent. On the other hand, its treatment at a logistical level is less cumbersome, because the temperature necessary to preserve it oscillates between 2º and 8º.

According to data from the Russian Direct Investment Fund, this vaccine is already approved in a total of 39 countries . And, although the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has not yet approved the application of the Russian vaccine, countries such as Hungary have already unilaterally authorized its use and Slovakia has already purchased 20,000 doses .

The renewed trust now placed in Sputnik, taking into account the supply problems of other vaccines, has also led Andalusia to go to the markets bypassing the EU “chain of command” (remember that it still does not have authorization from the European Medicines Agency) as well as the centralized purchase of Spain. The Junta de Andalucía, thus, will hold meetings by videoconference with representatives of the Sputnik manufacturers between this week and the next .

This is the second community to initiate contacts with representatives of the Russian vaccine, after the Community of Madrid held three meetings for the same purpose. Brussels would have already reproached this attempt by Madrid, in fact. Catalonia and the Valencian Community, for their part, would agree on the purchase of Sputnik , although only if it is previously authorized by the EMA.

At the legal level, experts agree that the communities are fully competent with regard to the management of health services, so perhaps we are not so much facing an inadmissible case from a legal point of view as from a point of loyalty and coordination regarding to other communities and the rest of the State .

Be that as it may, Spain is not unique in this regard. In Germany we are seeing similar movements : the Government of the land of Bavaria has signed a preliminary contract to buy 2.5 million doses of Sputnik V, although everything is still subject to the vaccine being approved by the European Medicines Agency.

Ironically, both the Janssen and AstraZeneca vaccines, both affected by extremely rare cases of thrombi , are based on adenovirus technology as a viral vector , which is the same that also underlies Sputnik , but (for the moment) does not weigh on it the macula of supposed greater prevalence of thrombi, so it has risen several places in the popularity ladder (always below, yes, Pfizer and Moderna, which use messenger RNA technology).

The technology used in both Janssen and AstraZeneca or Sputnik is not new and is strongly supported , as scientists began to create the first viral vectors in the 1970s. In addition to being used in vaccines, viral vectors were also studied as alternatives to gene therapy, to treat cancer and for molecular biology research purposes.