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Italy to be first EU country to make Russian Sputnik vaccine

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Italy to be first EU country to make Russian Sputnik vaccine
A health worker prepares a dose of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine at the Itaugua National Hospital in Itagua, Paraguay. (Photo by Norberto DUARTE / AFP)

An Italian-Swiss pharmaceutical company has agreed to produce Russia's Sputnik V vaccine in Italy, the first such deal in the European Union, a trade body said on Tuesday.

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An Italian-Swiss pharmaceutical company has agreed to produce Russia's Sputnik V vaccine in Italy, the first such deal in the European Union, a trade body said Tuesday.

"The vaccine will be produced from July 2021 in (pharma company) Adienne factories in Lombardy," northern Italy, a spokesman for the Italian-Russian Chamber of Commerce, Stefano Maggi, told AFP.

"Ten million doses will be produced between July 1 and January 1, 2022," he added, describing it as the "first agreement on the European level for the production on EU territory of the Sputnik vaccine".

Several European Union countries have already begun distributing Sputnik V, but it has yet to be approved by the bloc's medicines regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

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Last week the Amsterdam-based EMA launched a rolling review of the Sputnik V vaccine, a key step towards being approved as the first non-Western jab to be used against the coronavirus across the 27-nation bloc.

"If the vaccine is not authorised in Europe by July 1, the doses produced (in Italy) will be bought by the Russian sovereign fund and distributed in countries where the Sputnik vaccine is authorised," Maggi said.

Italy's health ministry, contacted by AFP, declined to comment on the deal, while Adienne was not immediately available.

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The EU has so far authorised three vaccines: the US-German Pfizer/BioNTech jab, US firm Moderna's shot, and the British-Swedish AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine.

It is set to decide on the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine on March 11, while jabs by Novavax and CureVac are also under rolling review.

Sputnik has been approved in 46 countries outside Europe.

According to medical journal The Lancet, the Sputnik vaccine is 91.6% effective against symptomatic forms of the Covid-19 disease.

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