MINSK, February 26. /TASS/. A trial batch of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus has been manufactured in Belarus, Belarusian Health Minister Dmitry Pinevich told journalists on Friday.
"Today is a landmark moment for all of us. We welcome you during an official launch of the localization of the Sputnik V vaccine in the Republic of Belarus. A trial batch of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine was produced," he noted.
"We fulfilled agreements of our presidents [of Belarus and Russia - TASS] on joint counteraction to the spread of the infection. Inoculation now is an essential factor of the fight against the epidemic process," the health minister stated. He reiterated that Belarus is the first country after Russia to conduct clinical trials of this vaccine. "We were the first to register this vaccine and the first to launch inoculation with this vaccine beyond Russia’s borders. Our goal is to localize the production of this preparation using capacities of Belarusian enterprises," the minister stated.
He specified that the industrial production of the vaccine will begin in a month. "Right now we are checking everything and conducting all the studies necessary to submit the results to the Russian side within a month for them [Russian specialists] to verify everything and confirm that [the vaccine] is identical [to the Russian one]. As early as the end of March will see an industrial batch being packaged," he explained. He noted that the production of the trial batch of Sputnik V is one of the most important results of strategic interaction of Belarus and Russia. "This also represents a good start of our scientific and medical interaction," the health minister noted.
Packaging of the first validation series of the vaccine was performed at the Belmedpreparaty enterprise. After results of stability studies of the first series of the vaccine are obtained, industrial series of the preparation will be produced. Additionally, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and its partners are testing the technology of a full-cycle production of Sputnik V using Belarusian industrial capacities.
Earlier, the health minister reported that about 500,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine would be produced in the republic monthly.
Commentary by Russia's Industry and Trade Ministry and RDIF
"The joint production of the Sputnik V vaccine is an important stage of interaction between our countries. The industrial cooperation and the development of partnership allow implementing such significant joint projects for the sake of effective protection of residents of the Republic of Belarus. An agreement was also achieved between our countries on beginning work to upgrade a laboratory base of the Republic of Belarus. Additionally, an issue of establishing there full-scale production of the Russian vaccine is being worked on. The Gamaleya Institute, the Generium company and the RDIF provide assistance in the technology transfer," Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said.
As head of the RDIF Kirill Dmitriev said at a conference with representatives of the Belarusian Health Ministry, "Belarus was among the first ones to conduct a key phase of the technology transfer of the vaccine production which will allow producing the vaccine in Belarus in the near future."
According to him, the republic will be able to produce the vaccine not only for domestic use but also for export to other countries after the internal demand is partially satisfied.