Azerbaijan issues permit to conduct world’s first clinical trials of vaccine combination - Sputnik V and the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Clinical trials of the combination of Sputnik V and AstraZeneca vaccines will begin in February 2021.

The studies will assess the immunogenicity and safety of combined vaccine usage.

The joint research is important in developing an approach to combat future mutations.

Moscow, February 9, 2021 – The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund) announces that the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Azerbaijan has issued a permit on February 8 to conduct clinical trials in the country of a combined use of Sputnik V and the vaccine developed jointly by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. Clinical trials will begin till the end of February. 

RDIF, The Gamaleya Center, AstraZeneca and R-Pharm had earlier signed a Memorandum of Intent aimed at cooperation in vaccine development, which was announced in December 2020 during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The world’s first combined vaccine use will be conducted in line with clinical trials protocol registered on December 24, 2020.

The study will allow evaluating the immunogenicity and safety of the combined use of Sputnik V and the vaccine jointly developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. The research will be carried out over the course of six months in several countries with 100 volunteers recruited in each.

Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, said:

“We need to join our international efforts and use the most advanced solutions to defeat the coronavirus. A publication in the leading peer-reviewed medical journal, The Lancet, showed Sputnik V to be 91.6% efficacious. It is only one of three vaccines in the world with efficacy of over 90%. We are ready to develop cooperation with other manufacturers to increase the number of affordable and effective vaccines. The partnership for the clinical study of the combination of the AZD1222 vaccine with the adenoviral vector Ad26 of the Sputnik V registered vaccine against COVID Russian Direct Investment Fund has become the first and very important example of such cooperation in the world.”

Alexey Repik, Chairman of the Board of Directors of R-Pharm, said:

“R-Pharm has been actively working with the Republic of Azerbaijan for several years, we opened a modern production facility here in 2019, later in 2020 we registered two drugs from our anti-Covid portfolio: Artlegia and Coronavir. This pilot study is vital for developing of a new approach to the prevention of COVID-19, moreover the leading scientific and clinical centers of Azerbaijan will be able to make their own important contribution in this direction.”

About Sputnik V

Vector vaccine coronavirus Gamaleya Center Sputnik V vaccine uses the unique technology of combining two different vectors based on human adenovirus, which allows for a stronger and longer-term immune response compared to vaccines using the same vector for two shots. The regimen with two different adenoviral vectors for a prime and a boost immunization helps to avoid immunity to the first vector, which is formed after the first inoculation, and thus to raise efficacy of the second inoculation and create long-term immunity. This regimen is one of the reasons why the vaccine shows efficacy of over 90%, with full protection against severe cases. Among the leading COVID-19 vaccines only Sputnik V is using the two different vectors technology.

About AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

The AstraZeneca vaccine was developed by the University of Oxford in conjunction with Vaccitech. It uses a replication-defective chimpanzee viral vector based on an attenuated version of the common cold virus (adenovirus) that causes infection in chimpanzees, and contains genetic material from the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) spike protein. After vaccination, the surface spike protein is synthesized, which leads to the formation of an immune response to SARS-CoV-2 with possible subsequent infection with this virus.


Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) is Russia's sovereign wealth fund established in 2011 to make equity co-investments, primarily in Russia, alongside reputable international financial and strategic investors. RDIF acts as a catalyst for direct investment in the Russian economy. RDIF’s management company is based in Moscow. Currently, RDIF has experience of the successful joint implementation of more than 80 projects with foreign partners totaling more than RUB2 tn and covering 95% of the regions of the Russian Federation. RDIF portfolio companies employ more than 800,000 people and generate revenues which equate to more than 6% of Russia’s GDP. RDIF has established joint strategic partnerships with leading international co-investors from more than 18 countries that total more than $40 bn. Further information can be found at

For additional information contact:

Alexey Urazov
Russian Direct Investment Fund
Director for External Communications

Mobile: +7 915 312 76 65
E-mail: [email protected]

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