BRASILIA / MOSCOW (Reuters) – Brazil’s Bahia state has signed an agreement to conduct a third-phase clinical trial of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 and plans to buy 50 million doses in the market in Brazil Is, officials said.
The Russian vaccine is being developed by the Gamalaya Research Institute in Moscow and marketed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which signed an agreement with the Brazilian state of Paraná last month to test and produce the vaccine.
The RDIF said in a statement that Russia would sell 50 million doses of Sputnik-V to the Bahia state.
Governor Rui Costa said an agreement for the test was signed this week and Bahia will receive the initial 500 doses as soon as Brazilian health regulator Invesa approves the protocol for the trial.
Bahia is one of several Brazilian states that have attacked on their own for safe access to COVID-19 vaccines, driven at least in part by mistrust of the federal government’s response.
RDIF said the delivery is expected to begin in November for approval by Brazilian regulators.
Russia has described Sputnik as the first vaccine against coronovirus to be registered in the world, even though Phase III trials have not yet been completed.
A Phase III trial is on a large scale involving thousands of people – in Russia, 40,000 – for a long time.
The trials will be successful if expected to begin in October, with Bahia appearing to market the Russian vaccine in Brazil through its drug research center BahiaPharma, said Bahia State Health Secretary Fabio Vilas-Bose Pinto.
Brazil has the third largest number in the world, with more than 4 million confirmed cases.
RDIF has already entered into several agreements for the export of vaccines abroad. Kazakhstan is initially ready to purchase more than 2 million doses and may later increase the quantity to 5 million doses.
It has also agreed to sell 32 million doses at Landsteiner Scientific, a private company in Mexico.
On Friday, a separate RDIF said that more than one billion people will receive the vaccine in 2020-21, according to a report by the Interfare news agency.
The fund said that this week it expects to supply 100 million doses of the vaccine to Latin America, which is around a fifth of being able to produce annually through a global manufacturing partnership.
300 million doses of the vaccine will be produced in India.
(This story is refined to add 4 million to the Brazilian case in the 10th paragraph).
Reporting by Anthony Bodley in Brasilia and Polina Ivanova in Moscow; Editing by Angus McSwan and Francis Carey