India and China may start producing Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19, the RIA news agency cited President Vladimir Putin as saying on Tuesday.
Putin also proposed that the creation of a vaccine research centre for BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - be sped up, TASS reported. He was speaking at the BRICS virtual summit that was also addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Putin called on fellow members of the BRICS alliance to mass produce the Russian-made coronavirus vaccines. “There are Russian vaccines, they work, they work effectively and safely… It’s very important to unite for the mass production of these products into wide circulation," he said.
Putin noted that Russia has agreements in place with India and Brazil to conduct clinical trials of its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, as well as manufacturing agreements with China and India.
The world’s largest vaccine producer is in India, the Serum Institute of India.
The Russian leader did not offer specifics as to what broader efforts between the five countries to mass produce the vaccines would entail, or outline the commercial conditions.
Russia has registered two coronavirus vaccines as a global race heats up in producing an effective vaccine to combat the pandemic, which has now claimed the lives of 1.3 million people.
In August, Russia announced that it had registered the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V — named after the Soviet-era satellite — but did so ahead of large-scale clinical trials.
Last month, Putin announced that Russia had registered a second coronavirus vaccine, EpiVacCorona.
Russia has applied to the World Health Organization for accelerated registration and pre-qualification of the Sputnik V vaccine, which Russia has said is 92 percent effective.
Some Western scientists have expressed concern over the vaccine, warning that moving too quickly could be dangerous.
Pharma giants Pfizer and BioNTech earlier this month announced that their virus vaccine is 90 percent effective, while US company Moderna said Monday early results showed its candidate was 94.5 percent effective.