29 Dec 2021 15:05

Coronavirus pandemic may be over in 2022 - RDIF head

MOSCOW. Dec 29 (Interfax) - The energetic vaccination for Covid-19 may lead to a gradual end of the coronavirus pandemic in 2022, Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) head Kirill Dmitriev said.

"We actually hope that vaccination efforts will improve the situation next year. Indeed, there are scenarios, according to which next year could see a gradual withdrawal from the pandemic," Dmitriev said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 television channel (VGTRK).

It is still necessary "to actively vaccinate the entire world" in order to prevent the emergence of new coronavirus mutations, he said.

"The Omicron variant has shown that any mutation capable of rapidly changing the entire course of events can emerge any time. So, it is hard to make predictions. As we can see, no one was able to predict a surge in infections with the Omicron variant in countries where people are inoculated with RNA-based vaccines," Dmitriev said.

Studies conducted by the Gamaleya Institute demonstrate that the efficacy of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against the new coronavirus variant has fallen much less than the efficacy of other vaccines, while a booster shot of Sputnik Light palpably increases protection against Omicron, he said.

"Experts are still studying long-term effects of the Omicron variant but it is already clear that this variant will trigger a spike in infections in all countries of the world. Of course, it is important [to note] that Russia may also see a surge in infections," Dmitriev said.

Meanwhile, the distribution of Sputnik V abroad and its efficacy are contributing to an improvement of relations with other countries, including Latin American ones, where large amounts of the vaccine have been supplied, he said.

"We are beginning to work together with the government on a charity program, which will deliver Sputnik Light to African countries. We can see that the interest in Russia and the best vaccine in the world is growing. Russia has played and is continuing to play a very important role. At a key moment, the most difficult moment of the pandemic, Russia has made an input, a contribution to this fight, in particular, by building manufacturing plants in a large number of countries that now make the Sputnik vaccine," Dmitriev said.

Sputnik V, a product of the Gamaleya Center, has been approved in 71 countries with a total population exceeding 4 billion, while more than ten countries have localized production of the Russian vaccine.