Russia Asks China To Help Produce Sputnik Vaccine As Demand Enquiries Surges.
RUSSIA is turning to multiple Chinese firms to manufacture the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in an effort to speed up production as demand from across the world has soared.
Europe, or at least parts of Europe, are beginning to turn to Moscow out of frustration at the EU’s painfully slow vaccine rollout. Hungary has already bought and distributed considerable quantities of Sputnik V. France and Germany, among many others, are at least prepared to consider it, if and when the European Medicines Agency gives its approval. Hungary has used its right as an independent member state to grant emergency authorisation.
Russia has so far announced three deals totaling 260 million doses with Chinese vaccine companies. It’s a decision that could mean quicker access to shots for countries in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa that have ordered Russia’s vaccine.
Earlier criticism about Russia’s vaccine has been largely dismissed by data published in the British medical journal The Lancet that said large-scale testing showed it to be safe, with an efficacy rate of 91 per cent.
Experts have questioned however whether Russia can actually fulfill its pledge to countries across the world. While pledging hundreds of millions of doses to customers worldwide, it has only delivered a fraction.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said demand for Sputnik V significantly exceeds Russia’s domestic production capacity.
To boost production, the Russian Direct Investment Fund which bankrolled Sputnik V, has signed agreements with multiple drug makers in other countries, such as India, South Korea, Brazil, Serbia, Turkey, Italy, and others. There are few indications, however, that manufacturers abroad, except for those in Belarus and Kazakhstan, have made any large amounts of the vaccine so far.
Airfinity, a London-based science analytics company, estimates Russia agreed to supply some 630 million doses of Sputnik V to over 100 countries, with only 11.5 million doses exported so far. RDIF declined to disclose how many doses are going to other countries. As at April 27, less than 27 million two-dose sets of Sputnik V have been reportedly produced in Russia.
Health Minister Jens Spahn has pledged that everyone in Germany, a country of 83 million, could be offered a vaccine by June. Some 25.4 million vaccine doses have been administered thus far, with 5.96 million people fully vaccinated.