Putin tests nasal vaccine against COVID-19

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Russian President Vladimir Putin says he has taken an experimental nasal vaccine against the coronavirus, three days after he received his booster shot.

Russia is facing its worst surge of infections and deaths since the pandemic began and is struggling to overcome widespread vaccine hesitancy.

Putin was vaccinated with Sputnik V, Russia's domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine, in the northern hemisphere spring.

On Sunday, he said he received a booster shot of Sputnik Light, the one-dose version of the jab, and said he wanted to take part in testing the nasal version of Sputnik V.

Denis Logunov, deputy director of Russia's state-funded Gamaleya Center that developed Sputnik V, told Putin on Sunday the nasal vaccine is yet to go through clinical studies and is currently being tested "off-label mostly" - on the centre's staff members.

In accordance with established scientific protocols, the vaccine will need to go through several trial phases, including those involving thousands of people, to establish that it is safe and effective to use.

Last month, Russia's Health Ministry gave a regulatory go-ahead to early trials of the nasal form of Sputnik V among 500 volunteers but it was not immediately clear whether it has already started.

Putin told a government meeting on Wednesday that "exactly six months after vaccination my titers of protective (antibodies) have dropped, and specialists recommended the procedure of revaccination, which I did".

He said he didn't experience any unpleasant effects after taking the nasal vaccine.

Russians are currently offered four domestically developed vaccines, with Sputnik V and Sputnik Light dominating the market.

Data on efficacy of two other ones, EpiVacCorona and CoviVac, is yet to be released; just like Sputnik V, these two shots have been given regulatory approval before completing late-stage trials necessary to establish their effectiveness in preventing disease.

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