Policy & Regulation
Russia's "Sputnik V" COVID-19 vaccine in demand by 20 countries
11 August 2020 -

CNN reported on Tuesday that according to the head of the Russia Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), 20 countries around the world have requested more than a billion doses of Russia's newly-approved COVID-9 vaccine, named "Sputnik V".

RDIF head, Kirill Dmitriev, was quoted as saying : "We've seen considerable interest in the Russian vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Institute abroad. Moreover, we have received preliminary applications for over one billion doses of the vaccine from 20 countries."

"Along with our foreign partners, we are already prepared to manufacture over 500 million doses of vaccine per year in five countries and the plan is to ramp-up production capacity even higher."

Dmitriev added: "So far, countries in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia have displayed the greatest interest in the vaccine, and we are about to finalise a number of contracts for the purchase of the vaccine."

The Russian vaccine is yet to pass the crucial Phase 3 testing stage, which typically involves thousands of participants and assesses the safety and effectiveness of the drug. Dmitriev said those trials would take place abroad.

"We have already reached agreements on conducting the relevant trials of the Gamaleya vaccine with partners from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and a number of other countries," he said.

According to CNN, the Gamaleya vaccine is the first in the world to be approved but there are widespread concerns that essential corners may have been cut in its development.

Critics say the country's push for a vaccine is partly due to political pressure from the Kremlin, which is keen to portray Russia as a global scientific force.

In response to criticisms of the vaccine and the lack of testing and trials, Dmitriev was quoted as saying: "Coordinated and carefully-orchestrated media attacks on the Russian vaccine have attempted to discredit and conceal the correctness of Russia's approach to the drug's development."

Russia has released no scientific data on its testing and CNN added it is unable to verify the vaccine's claimed safety or effectiveness.

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