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2 Dec, 2020 12:53

Sputnik V touches down in Asia: Russian Covid-19 vaccine trials begin in India as countries vie for international rights

The creators of Russia’s pioneering Sputnik V jab have announced that the first vials have arrived in India for use in clinical trials, while millions of doses have already been ordered by other nations.

The team behind the vaccine, which was developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, released a video on Wednesday showing it touching down in the South Asian country, where it will be given to volunteers as part of a study to determine its efficacy.

At the same time, a number of other states across the world are pushing to be first in line for imports of Sputnik V. On Wednesday, the Philippines said it would work with Russia to secure supplies to begin mass immunization early next year.

Also on rt.com Russian Sputnik V vaccine at least 95% effective say its creators, but vaccination won't be mandatory, and Putin hasn’t had it yet

In November, Argentina announced it had placed an order for 25 million doses to be delivered at the start of 2021, and a host of countries, including Hungary, Venezuela, and the UAE, are all using it to begin trials.

Last month, Russian scientists announced that the jab was proving to be more effective than first thought, based on an analysis of new data. Around 95 per cent of trial participants have developed immunity to Covid-19, making it as effective as the leading competitor on the market.

Another potential appeal for countries looking to produce vaccines is Sputnik V’s price. Producers say that, because it uses a tried-and-tested adenovirus platform, manufacturing costs will be “two or more times cheaper than mRNA vaccines with similar efficacy levels.” Export doses of the vaccine are expected to cost $10, with two shots required per person. This compares favorably with the heftier price tags associated with the US pharma jabs made by Pfizer and Moderna – which cost $39 and up to $74 respectively.

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