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Watch: First doses of Russian COVID-19 vaccine being produced at Pharmaceutical Plant

Countries around the world express interest in first COVID-19 vaccine developed in Russia

Representatives of at least six countries have expressed interest in the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V since its production was officially announced. Among them are authorities in the Brazilian state of Parana, who have announced that they are intending to sign an agreement with Moscow to produce and distribute Sputnik V locally on 12 August.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic also expressed interest in the medicine to the extent of trying it himself, should it pass safety tests.

“I’m ready to take the [Russian] vaccine if Serbian specialists say that it’s good. […] Our specialists must first check if it’s safe and reliable. It’s imperative for a vaccine to emerge as soon as possible, because it will be a salvation for our economy”, Vucic said.

Several other states have also shown various degrees of interest in obtaining the Russian drug. Uzbekistan is also considering using the Russian vaccine domestically as one option to deal with the pandemic, the head of the nation’s emergency task force Rustam Ikramov revealed. Israel is no exception, with the country’s Health Minister Yuli Edelstein saying that the government will try to engage in negotiations with Moscow if the vaccine is proven to be effective by Israeli experts.

Argentina’s Foreign Ministry said it is closely following the news of the first Russian COVID-19 vaccine, adding that the country’s ambassador in Moscow has received specific instructions pertaining to the drug without delving into the details.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in turn, expressed hope that the Palestinian people will be among the first to receive the Russian vaccine, citing the country’s previous help to the PA in fighting the pandemic.

The authorities in these countries are not the first to show interest in a vaccine that could potentially shift the tide in the battle against the global pandemic. The latter has resulted in over 736,000 deaths and a major economic crisis in most countries. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte even expressed readiness to test the Russian vaccine himself, praising Moscow for the landmark achievement.

“I will tell [Russian] President Putin that I have huge trust in your studies in combating COVID and I believe that the vaccine that you have produced is really good for humanity”, Duterte said.

The Philippine president also noted that his country is ready to cooperate with Russia on running vaccine trials, as well as extending the drug’s production.

The spate of statements expressing interest in the Russian drug comes the same day as President Vladimir Putin announced that the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine had been officially registered in Russia after successfully passing trials on 76 volunteers.

The vaccine will be produced in six countries, including Russia, with the total output expected to reach around 500 million doses in the first 12 months.

Production of the first doses of the vaccine against COVID-19 has already begun at the Russian company AFK Sistema’s Binnopharm pharmaceutical factory. The plant is expected to make up to 1.5 million doses per year and is only one of many working on the rapid delivery of the much-needed drug.

A video, shot at the Binnopharm plant, shows how the first batch of the vaccine that might shift the tide in the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic is being produced.