Today Indian biotechnology firm Panacea Biotec has signed a contract to produce 100 million Sputnik V doses annually. On Monday, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which markets the shot internationally, said production was agreed to begin shortly at the Indian plant, but they did not confirm a specific start date. Now some EU nations, desperate to increase their vaccine supplies, are hoping to work with Moscow directly to gain access to Russia’s Sputnik V doses.
Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz said he would place an order for one million Sputnik doses next week.
The EU is yet to allow Russia’s vaccine to be distributed throughout the bloc.
Currently Russia’s vaccine lacks all the links in the chain for an EU advanced purchase agreement.
The EU wish to discover if the science behind Russia’s vaccine is sound, and currently it is not know if it would fall short of the European Commission’s criteria for EU-wide advance purchase agreement for inoculations.
On Saturday, Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández tweeted he had tested positive for coronavirus, despite having received the Sputnik V vaccine in January.
Referring to the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, Sebastian Gülde, spokesperson for the German health ministry, said: “The vaccine cannot be marketed in Germany without EU approval,”
Hungary was the first EU nation to get its hands on Sputnik V.
Hungary is also been deploying China’s Sinopharm vaccine.
However, Beijing’s vaccine has had no EU regulatory backing and no other EU nation is distributing it.
But, in contrast to other EU nations, Hungary has ranked among the highest vaccination rates in the EU, around 21 percent, and many other countries in the bloc are taking notice of this high inoculation rate.
However, on Monday Alexander Gintsburg, the director of the Gamaleya Institute where Sputnik V was developed, told RIA Novosti the EU “is in no hurry” to sign off on the vaccine for distribution throughout the bloc.
Referring to Sputnik V, Mr Gintsburg added: “Fear its strong attributes, thanks to which it may end up outcompeting the products that the European bureaucracy is promoting at home.”