Sputnik V: Russia's Covid-19 vaccine to cost less than $20

It comes in lower than the $18.41 for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine but more than the $2.97 for AstraZeneca's offer

Russia aims to make a billion doses of the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine next year and sell it for less than $20 per person on international markets, its backers and developers said on Tuesday.

The Sputnik vaccine is administered in two shots, each of which will cost less than $10, according to the official Sputnik V Twitter account. For Russian citizens, vaccination will be free of charge.

The pricing announcement comes as Russia looks to scale up distribution and production. Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia's RDIF sovereign wealth fund, said Moscow and its foreign partners had capacity to make more than a billion doses starting from next year, enough to vaccinate more than 500 million people.

The international market price for Sputnik V unveiled on Tuesday is cheaper than some western rivals such as a vaccine produced by Pfizer-BioNTech, which costs €15.50 ($18.41) per shot, but more expensive than a vaccine produced by AstraZeneca which will be sold in Europe for about €2.50 per shot.

Mr Dmitriev told Reuters that Moscow had deliberately tried to get the price down to make it available to as many people around the world as possible.

RDIF said: "Sputnik V will be two or more times cheaper than mRNA vaccines with similar efficacy levels."

It said it was basing its assessment on mRNA vaccines where pricing had already been announced and interim Phase 3 clinical trials were under way.

RDIF and the Gamaleya National Centre said earlier on Tuesday that new clinical trial data based on 39 confirmed cases and 18,794 patients who got both shots had shown that Sputnik V was 91.4 per cent effective on day 28 and more than 95 per cent effective on day 42.

Moscow has been criticised by some scientists in the West who have accused it of cutting corners in an effort to rush out the vaccine.

Russia denied that, alleging a western dirty tricks campaign to put people off its vaccine in what it believes has become a battle for legitimacy and market share.

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