MINSK, 26 February (BelTA) – The first validation batches of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine have been produced in Belarus, Healthcare Minister Dmitry Pinevich told BelTA.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russia's pharmaceutical company Generium and Belarus' major pharmaceutical company Belmedpreparaty are launching the production of Sputnik V, the world's first registered vaccine against coronavirus.
The first validation batches of the vaccine were bottled using Russian technology at the Belmedpreparaty facilities. “The mass production of the vaccine will be launched after evaluating the stability of the first batches of the Sputnik V vaccine,” Dmitry Pinevich added.
In addition, RDIF and partners are testing the Sputnik V full-cycle production technology at facilities in Belarus. The release of the vaccine at Belmedpreparaty will fully meet the country's needs in a coronavirus vaccine.
According to Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, RDIF and partners can help Belarus build up vaccine production capacities so that Belarus will manufacture enough vaccines to fully meet the domestic demand. After launching its own vaccine production, Belarus will be able to significantly increase the vaccination scale and avoid logistics costs.
Belarus became the first country outside Russia to officially authorize Sputnik V. The registration certificate for the vaccine was issued on 21 December 2020. In October 2020, Belarus became the first country outside Russia to start clinical trials of the vaccine. Volunteers were vaccinated in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial in eight designated healthcare facilities. The first batch of Sputnik V was delivered to Belarus at the end of December 2020.
The Sputnik V vaccine was developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology of Russia's Ministry of Health. The vaccine efficacy is over 90%, the vaccine offers complete protection against severe cases of coronavirus. Sputnik V is an adenoviral vector vaccine. Adenoviral vectors cause the common cold that has been known to humanity for millennia. The Sputnik jab uses two different versions of the vaccine for the first and second dose - given 21 days apart, which forms a stronger immunity compared to vaccines that use the same delivery mechanism for both shots. The safety, efficacy and the lack of long-term side effects of adenoviral vaccines have been proved in more than 250 clinical trials over two decades.
More than 1.5 million people have already been vaccinated with Sputnik V. The vaccine is approved in Russia, Belarus, Serbia, Argentina, Bolivia, Algeria, Palestine, Venezuela, Paraguay, Turkmenistan, Hungary, the UAE, Iran, Guinea, Tunisia and Armenia. The vaccine registration in the EU has also been initiated.