Italy, Russia sign agreement to manufacture Sputnik V vaccine


MOSCOW, Russia: Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine might be manufactured in western Europe, following the signing of a contract between Italy, Moscow's RDIF sovereign wealth fund and Swiss-based pharmaceutical company Adienne.

The agreement will need the approval of the Italian parliament.

News of the agreement came from RDIF, which markets Sputnik V internationally, and the Italian-Russian chamber of commerce.

RDIF's head Kirill Dmitriev was quoted in Russian state TV as saying manufacturing plants will also be built in Spain, France and Germany.

Apparently some companies will move forward without the approval of the European Union's European Medicines Agency.

Following peer-reviewed studies, scientists said the the Russian vaccine was nearly 92 percent effective. The data was published in The Lancet medical journal in February.

Sputnik V has been approved or is being evaluated in Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Additionally, EU officials said it is possible they might begin negotiations to purchase the Sputnik vaccine.

"This agreement is the first of its kind with a European partner," Vincenzo Trani, head of the Italian-Russian chamber, said in a statement. "It can be called a historic event, which is proof of the good state of relations between our countries and shows that Italian companies can see beyond political differences."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Italy-related plan could help quickly satisfy demand for the shot abroad.

A spokesman for Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said all possible vaccinations should be weighed, in a bid to vaccinate the largest number of people.

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