Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 22 October 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Russia’s sovereign wealth fund partners with Pharco to supply Covid-19 vaccine to Egypt

Under the deal, 25 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine will be supplied, enough to cover 25% of its population

Samples of the vaccine developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology. Reuters
Samples of the vaccine developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology. Reuters

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) signed a deal with Egyptian pharmaceutical company Pharco to supply 25 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine that will be used to treat Covid-19 to Egypt.

The agreement will provide vaccines for 25 per cent of Egypt’s population and will eventually allow for vaccines to be distributed to neighbouring countries, the Russian sovereign wealth fund said on Wednesday.

“The agreement between RDIF and Pharco will help Egypt obtain an efficient and safe vaccine, Sputnik V, for almost 25% of its population," Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of RDIF, which is financing Russia’s vaccine research, said.

Russia's Sputnik V vaccine has been developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology. The vaccine, named after another Russian innovation, Sputnik 1, has already undergone phase I and II clinical trials, with the results published in The Lancet earlier this month. The first results from phase III trials are expected to be published in October-November this year, the RDIF said.

The virus has been developed on an adenoviral vectors platform, which the RDIF said has proven to be safe over decades of use in more than 250 clinical trials.

"So the people of Egypt will get a proven vaccine created on a platform with no negative long-term effects, including carcinogenicity or risks for fertility in the future," Mr Dmitriev said.

More than 50 countries in the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Europe have applied for the Sputnik V vaccine. The RDIF has already agreed to supply 32 million doses to Mexico, 50 million to Brazil, 100 million to India, 35 million to Uzbekistan and 25 million to Nepal.

“We greatly appreciate this agreement to secure supplies of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine with proven safety to Egypt,” said Dr Sherine Abbas Helmy, founder and president of Pharco.

As well as handling supplies, Pharco is also considering other opportunities to work with the RDIF, which could include the localisation of production at its facilities in Cairo within the next few months, Dr Helmy said.

A Russian researcher holds a vial with the "Sputnik V" vaccine against Covid-19, in Zelenograd near Moscow. Reuters
A Russian researcher holds a vial with the Sputnik V vaccine in Zelenograd near Moscow. Reuters

“This pandemic will not be completely eradicated without a vaccine. The vaccine created by the Gamalaya Centre is not one-piece, like the vaccines of the past (containing a live or killed virus). It is made using modern biotechnology," Feliks Ershov, virologist and academician at Moscow-based Russian Academy of Sciences, said.

"The safety of the Sputnik V vaccine is ensured by using a simple flu virus that is harmless to humans and does not contain the coronavirus itself - only a part of its genetic code, which excludes the possibility of infection,” Mr Ershov added.

Updated: September 30, 2020 02:01 PM

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