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4 Mar, 2021 21:54

‘People deserve to have choice’: Russia ‘open’ to supplying Sputnik V to EU but doesn't ‘insist’ on it – vaccine funder to RT

‘People deserve to have choice’: Russia ‘open’ to supplying Sputnik V to EU but doesn't ‘insist’ on it – vaccine funder to RT

Russia is ready to supply European nations with its Sputnik V jab as it believes people “deserve” to have a choice of vaccines but it is up to the EU to allow it, said Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund.

“We want people to have a choice of vaccines,” Dmitriev told RT. Various drug watchdogs should determine whether such a vaccine is safe but they should not “limit the choice that people deserve to have” for some political reasons, he added, explaining his agency’s position on supplying the pioneering Russian vaccine to other nations and particularly on its pending appraisal in the EU.He also said that the Russian jab is based on an adenoviral vector technology that “has been proven to be safe for decades,” adding that “many people can specifically choose a vaccine based on this technology because of its benefits.”

Still, it is up to the European Medical Agency (EMA) to approve Sputnik V for emergency use in Europe, he said, adding that, although Moscow is “definitely open” to such a possibility, it is absolutely not “insisting” on supplying the vaccine, not least because it already has a vast market.

“Sputnik V is now registered in 44 nations with a total population of 1.2 billion,” and Russia is only working with “countries or blocs that really want to have a Russian vaccine,” Dmitriev said. Still, he said that Moscow will work “very closely” with the EMA now, as it has launched the review of Sputnik V and looks forward to having EMA specialists visit the vaccine production facilities.

Also on rt.com EU medicines regulator announces review of data for Russian-made Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine for potential use by member states

The head of the Russian sovereign wealth fund, which financed the development of Sputnik V and oversaw the deals on its production and supplies abroad, called the reviewers appointed by the EMA “real professionals” and expressed his hope that their decision would be based on “science and not on politics.”

Dmitriev also said that interest in the Russian vaccine is growing among EU nations, and specifically praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz for their measured and “pragmatic” approach, as well as for the support those leaders provided to Russia in its dealings with the EMA.

Two EU nations – Hungary and Slovakia – already approved the Russian jab for emergency use at a national level prior to the EMA decision. Dmitriev believes more European nations would follow suit in the near future, since his agency had already been approached by “some other” states as well.

Also on rt.com ‘It’s not about geopolitics, but human health’: Czech PM signals country could use Russian Sputnik V vaccine without EU approval

There are still “barriers” the Russian jab needs to overcome on its way to the European market, including those of mistrust and the lobbying resources of big Western pharmaceutical companies that apparently seek to avoid competition, Dmitriev believes.

The head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) hopes that the situation will soon change: “There is a road we all need to take and this is the road to saving people’s lives. Many politicians start to understand that rather than being an obstacle to giving people a choice of vaccines it is better to speed things up.”

A publication in the prestigious medical journal the Lancet showed that the Russian vaccine has an efficacy of 91.6 percent. Based on the data of the jab’s Phase III trials on 19,866 volunteers, it also demonstrated that the vaccine is even slightly more effective for people over 60, and prevents severe coronavirus cases.

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