President Vladimir Putin announced in Russia in August Safety tests aroused worldwide suspicion even before the world’s first Kovid-19 vaccine was cleaned before use. Now he can receive diplomatic dividends because Russia is its biggest scientific breakthrough since the Soviet era.
Countries are lining up for Sputnik V supplies after peer-review results published in The Lancet Medical Journal this week showed that the Russian vaccine protects against deadly viruses as well as US and European shots and comparisons to Chinese rivals Is far more effective.
At least 19 countries, including the EU member state Hungary, have approved inoculation for use, while major markets such as Brazil and India are close to authorizing it. Now Russia is setting its sights on the prized EU market as a conflict with its vaccination program amid supply shortages.
In the global fight to defeat an epidemic that claimed 2.3 million lives in less than a year, the race to obtain vaccines has assumed geopolitical importance as the vast social and economic spillover by government lockdown The virus tries to emerge from harm so as to limit the spread of the virus. This is giving Russia an edge as one of a handful of countries where scientists have produced an effective defense.
The name of Sputnik V, the world’s first satellite whose Soviet Union won a surprise victory against the US after the 1957 launch of the space race, only underscored the scale of the significance of this achievement. Results from late-stage trials of 20,000 participants reviewed in The Lancet showed that the vaccine has a 91.6% success rate.
“This is a watershed moment for us,” Chief Executive Officer of the state-run Russian Direct Investment Fund, Kirill Dimitrik, who supported the development of Sputnik V and is in charge of its international roll-out, said in an interview.
Although it is too early to predict political gains for Putin, the vaccine’s soft-power is having a major impact on Russia’s image, after already mediating elections and targeting political opponents at home and abroad. State television largely reports on delivery to other countries.
According to Oksana Antonenko, director of the Control Risk Consultancy, Sputnik’s success will not change hostility between Western governments, although it may reinforce Russia’s geopolitical dominance in areas such as Latin America.
“With this vaccine, it is able to prove itself that it is capable of producing something new around the world,” she said.
Production constraints are the biggest challenge due to global supply constraints. Russia pledged free shots to its 146 million population, started production last year and is currently manufacturing the vaccine in countries including India, South Korea and Brazil.
This week, it emerged as a close ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan An agreement to produce Sputnik V in Turkey, even the nation, has signed a deal to buy 50 million doses of Coronavac vaccine from China’s Synovac Biotech Limited and 4.5 million doses of Pfizer Inc.-BioNotech SE Shot.
Despite Russia’s success, domestic demand so far remains lukewarm, fueled by public skepticism of the authorities. The 68-year-old Putin aired skepticism in December after he said he was waiting to vaccinate until it was approved for people his age.
He still has not said if he has been vaccinated, but other countries are not waiting to find out after announcing that he will be contracting Kovid-19, Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obredor said on January 25 Putin would be called “really affectionate” for dropping 24 million doses of Sputnik V in the coming two months. Three days later, Bolivian President Luis Aers took delivery of a batch in person at La Paz Airport.
Latin America is proving to be a fertile region. Argentina, which is struggling to obtain vaccine supplies, began its mass vaccination program by January after taking delivery of more than half a million Sputnik V doses. It is joined by Nicaragua, Paraguay and Venezuela. In Brazil, the region’s largest market, announced a decision. Approval speed may increase to meet the need for phase three trials for emergency use on 3 February.
Guinea became the first African country to begin distribution of Sputnik V in December, with Moscow-friendly President Alpha Conade and several ministers taking the vaccine. It expects to receive 1.6 million doses this year and is also in talks with AstraZeneca PLC on getting the Chinese vaccine with a shot. Zimbabwe, Central African Republic and Ivory Coast are among other potential customers for Russia.
“We are not in a situation where we cannot ask for any vaccine. We have opted for the Pfizer vaccine, but we are looking at other vaccines as well, ”said Professor Joseph Benni, head of the National Institute of Public Hygiene, Ivory Coast. “There is now an urge to start vaccination.”
Unlike the Pfizer / Bayonet vaccine, Sputnik V can be stored in a fridge instead of a freezer, making it easy to transport and distribute in poor and hot countries. At around $ 20 for a two-shot vaccination, it is cheaper than most Western alternatives. While more expensive than AstraZeneca, Russian vaccination has shown more Efficacy compared to UK vaccines.
For some countries like Iran, which received This week, the first batch of a promised 2 million dose, Russia offers a more luxurious political option than Western suppliers. But Russia is also entering countries like the United Arab Emirates, which is traditionally close to the US and has approved Sputnik V for use.
China, whose vaccine is 50% effective in terms of synovac biotech, maintains an edge in Asia. Only a handful of countries have opted for Sputnik V, including the Philippines, which is negotiating for 25 million doses.
Chinese developers can now team up with Russia. RDIF signed an initial deal To test the combined combination of shots from Sputnik V and China’s Biosino of China to boost effectiveness against Kovid-19, people familiar with the case said on Friday.
In representing the Kremlin’s greatest possible success, European regulators are launching an investigation after Germany’s request for authorization of Sputnik V to help accelerate the process. With top EU officials still smarting over a sluggish vaccine roll-out, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday that Russian shots could be used Protecting people in 27-member blocks approved by the European Medicine Agency.
Hungary is already Granted emergency approval, signed a deal for 2 million doses of Sputnik V, with the first 40,000 shots delivered on Tuesday. “The vaccine cannot be a political question,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told state radio on 29 January. “Can only choose between Western and Eastern vaccines when you have enough.”
European approval could take several months due to the need to submit detailed data, Lancet editor-in-chief Richard Horton told Bloomberg’s QuickTech. “I think this Russian vaccine will come on tap,” but “no sooner,” he said.
While Russia says the vaccine is expected to be available to 700 million people this year, it faces production bottlenecks. “We have to be realistic. Given our other commitments, we will not be able to supply to Europe before May, apart from Hungary, ”said RDIF’s Dimitri.
Nevertheless, Tika is paying dividends for Putin. Even as he visited Moscow to face Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the imprisonment of opposition leader Alexey Navalny, EU foreign policy chief Joseph Burrell congratulated Russia for developing Sputnik V time taken.
“This is good news for the whole human race,” Burrell said. “This means that we are going to have more equipment to withstand the epidemic.”
– Stefan Kravchenko, Anna Andrianova, Yulia Fedorinova, Martha Fourcade, Thomas Muliar, Naomi Kresge, Jake Rudnisky, Simone Preussler Iglesias, Chris Keya, Emma O’Brien, Pauline Bax, Katrina Hoije, Golar Motavelli, Geraldelli, Geraldi Key. Eider, Balazs Penz, and Gina Turner