After a series of negotiations, British drugmaker AstraZeneca has finally signed a Memorandum of Intent with Russia’s Gamaleya Institute, which developed Sputnik V, Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund, and Russian drugmaker R-Pharm.
The memorandum allows for joint efforts to find sustainable solution to the coronavirus pandemic and also to organize clinical tests combining its own experimental COVID-19 vaccine with Russia’s Sputnik V shot.
President Vladimir Putin, speaking by video conference, noted that commitment to partnership may serve as a compelling example of combining research forces, technologies and investment in order to achieve a common goal, which is to protect the lives, health and safety of millions of people on the planet.
“It is important to use all opportunities that international cooperation offers in order to move as quickly as possible towards the moment when this dangerous infection will finally be defeated. And I am very pleased that Russian specialists, proving their high level of professionalism and scientific expertise, have already made a significant contribution to this common task – they have developed three safe and effective vaccines that can provide a high guarantee of preventing the infection, and in some cases seriously decrease its gravity,” he stressed at the meeting.
Putin believes that the Gamaleya Centre has developed the Sputnik V and the AstraZeneca has Oxford vaccine, and consequently such cooperation can produce a powerful effect and synergy, both in terms of increasing the efficacy and reliability of the vaccination campaign, of the vaccine itself, and for its greater availability due to the introduction of various vaccination plans, enabling modern production and logistics, the use of the most advanced industrial facilities in Russia and in other countries.
Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) CEO Kirill Dmitriev gave a background of the RDIF work including a focus on countering the epidemic, and utilizing the expertise to find solutions in three areas, each of them vital for saving lives: test kits, antiviral medicine and a vaccine.
The RDIF has been working in partnership with the world’s leading countries to conduct clinical trials in the UAE, Venezuela and India. Today, the clinical trials have ended successfully in Belarus. Belarus is one of the first countries to register Russian vaccine.
“We are working with producers in India, China, Brazil, the Republic of Korea and other countries to launch the production of Sputnik V beyond Russia. Today, the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan launched the joint production of the Sputnik V vaccine in Kazakhstan. We expect Belarus to start manufacturing finished vaccine doses as soon as the first quarter of 2021. Overall, we hope to produce over 500 million vaccine doses at our facilities outside Russia next year,” Kirill Dmitriev told the meeting.
Russia has been collaborating with regulatory authorities when it comes to the approval of the Russian vaccine in several countries. The number of such countries will increase several times over next year.
For example, the lower house of the Brazilian Parliament has adopted a law on the use in Brazil of the vaccine registered in Russia. This is a very important example, including for other countries which want to save their citizens and trust Russia’s regulatory standards, according to Kirill Dmitriev.
The meeting was attended by Director of the Gamaleya National Centre of Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Russian Healthcare Ministry Alexander Gintsburg, Deputy Director of the Gamaleya National Centre of Epidemiology and Microbiology Denis Logunov, Chairman of the Board of Directors of R-Pharm Alexei Repik, and CEO of AstraZeneca Pascal Soriot.