Egypt to produce 40 million doses of Sputnik V jab

Cairo (AFP) –


Egyptian firm Minapharm announced Thursday it will produce 40 million doses of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was the first partnership for the production of Sputnik V in the Middle East and North Africa, Minapharm said in a joint statement with the Russian Direct Investment Fund.

Rollout of the vaccine intended for "global distribution" was expected later this year, said Minapharm and the RDIF, which backed the financing of the vaccine.

Like the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccines, which have been linked to rare blood clotting, the Sputnik jab uses adapted strains of the adenovirus that causes the common cold.

But Russia's state-run Gamaleya research institute, which developed the Sputnik vaccine, said this month that there was no risk of blot clots from its jab.

"The Russian vaccine is highly efficient and trusted by regulators around the world and makes a huge contribution in the fight against coronavirus," RDIF head Kirill Dmitriev was quoted as saying in the statement.

Russia's registration of Sputnik in August last year triggered criticism both at home and abroad over the fast-track procedure, but a leading medical journal said this year it was safe and highly effective.

The vaccine has been registered for use in dozens of countries.

Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, said this month it was preparing to produce 80 million doses of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine through state-firm Vacsera.

Cairo is also in the final stages of agreeing to purchase 20 million doses of China's Sinopharm vaccine, according to the health ministry, with a shipment of 500,000 shots expected this month.

Egypt, with a population of over 100 million, has recorded nearly 219,000 positive cases including more than 12,000 deaths.