Brazilian State in Talk with Russia to Produce COVID-19 Vaccine Locally

In this April 10, 2020, photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a staff member holds up a sample of a potential COVID-19 vaccine at a production plant of SinoPharm in Beijing. CREDIT: Associated Press (AP)

The Brazilian state of Parana is seeking to make a deal to produce Russia’s coronavirus vaccine locally.

Moscow’s Tuesday announcement that it was the first country in the world to register a vaccine drew scepticism from some over the speed of its regulatory approval, and because Russia has not shared data from large-scale clinical trials.

Jorge Callado, the director of the Parana Institute of Technology (Tecpar), said a contract between Parana and Russia would be signed on Wednesday, in comments broadcast on Brazilian television.

According to Callado, a phase 3 study, which would see the vaccine tested on a large group of people, is possible in Brazil.

The vaccine is likely to be available in the second half of 2021.

“We will work in stages,” Acef Said, Russia’s consul in Parana’s capital Curitiba told dpa.

“Technical and scientific cooperation opens up the possibility of doing vaccine tests and producing the vaccine here for the Brazilian population,” he said.

The Russian “Sputnik” vaccine must comply with regulations from the Brazilian watchdog for health, Anvisa, to be used in the country.

Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, said countries including the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates have expressed an interest.

He said on Tuesday, as reported by the Russian media that Russia was working with those countries.

Israel, which has close relations with Russia, also expressed a cautious interest in the vaccine on Tuesday.

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