Latin American countries eye Argentine production of Russian vaccine to cover regional demand
Several South American countries as well as the Russian developers of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine are relying on Argentina’s output of the immunizer to cope with regional demand.
”The Russian Sputnik vaccine manufactured in the plant of the (Argentine) company Richmond will be available for vaccination in Argentina starting next week after a successful quality control of tests at the Gamaleya institute on August 3, said Tuesday the Russian Fund for Direct Investments.
The Gamaleya Institute approved the production of the second dose of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against covid-19 in Argentina, after a successful quality control amid growing local and regional demand from countries such as Venezuela, Mexico, Guatemala and Bolivia.
The announcement follows a complaint from Argentina and other countries for delays in the delivery of the second dose, which includes two applications that are different from one another and not interchangeable.
‘The Richmond laboratory plans to produce more than 3 million doses of the second component of Sputnik V in August. This week the company will begin to supply the Argentine government with 150,000 doses of the second component of the locally produced Sputnik V vaccine, according to a joint statement from RDIF and Richmond.
The current agreement between Argentina and Russia involves 30 million doses of Sputnik V. So far, about 11.86 million have been made available (9.37 million of component one, but only 2.49 million of component two).
Sputnik V was the first covid -19 vaccine registered in the world with the heterogeneous booster approach, using human adenovirus serotype 26 as the first component and serotype 5 as the second component. Argentina was at the end of 2020 the first Latin American country to authorize the use of Sputnik V, a vaccine already approved by 69 nations but which has not yet been endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Delays in the delivery of second doses led Guatemalan authorities to reduce the amount of vaccines purchased from Russia from 16 million to 8 million and shortages have sparked protests in Argentina and also in Bolivia.
In recent weeks, the Argentine government has accelerated the vaccination campaign to complete the two-dose schedules, fearing the consequences of the Delta strain of covid-19. Difficulties obtaining the second dose of Sputnik V has led Argentina to mix it with with boosters of AstraZeneca, Sinopharm and Moderna among volunteers who had taken a first dose of Sputnik V. The first results of these experiments are due shortly.
Argentina, with 45 million inhabitants, has recorded about 4.95 million infections and more than 106,000 deaths since the pandemic began. Until Tuesday, some 25.3 million Argentines (56.2%) had received at least the first dose, while 7.3 million of them (16.3%) have taken the full treatment.