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Belarus to launch mass production of Sputnik V vaccine on March 30-31

A pilot batch is being examined by experts in Russia

MINSK, March 7. /TASS/. Belarus plans to launch mass production of the Sputnik V anti-coronavirus vaccine on March 30-31. A pilot batch is being examined by experts in Russia, Belarusian Deputy Health Minister Dmitry Cherednichenko said on Sunday.

"The first batch, the so-called validation batch of 15,000 ampoules, was manufactured on February 26. Now it is being examined at the Russian Gamaleya Institute (the Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Russian Health Ministry - TASS) for sustainability, efficacy, etc. We will begin to manufacture the vaccine from March 30-31. It is planned to make 500,000 doses a month," he said in an interview with the ONT television channel.

According to Cherednichenko, the key goal is to satisfy the domestic demand. "First of all, we need to vaccinate the entire population of our country. When we have a possibility for exporting the vaccine, we will supply it abroad. It is envisaged by the contract," he said.

"The Sputnik V vaccine is a vaccine that is most efficient," he stressed. "As for side effects, they are minimal. That is why we are now working with the Sputnik V vaccine and with the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine. But we don’t ignore other manufacturers. Negotiations are underway. We keep the situation under control."

He did not rule out that not only Russia’s Sputnik V would be manufactured in Belarus.

Vaccination of volunteers with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccines as part of post-registration tests began in Belarus on October 1, 2020. Belarus was second after Russia to register the vaccine. Vaccination of most vulnerable categories of the population began in late December. Belarusian Health Minister Dmitry Pinevich said on March 2 that it was planned to begin mass vaccination in the country in April.

A pilot batch of Sputnik V was manufactured by Belarus’ Belmedpreparaty on February 26.

Russia was the world’s first to register an anti-coronavirus vaccine on August 11, 2020. The vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Russian Health Ministry, was given the name Sputnik V. It is a vector vaccine based on the human adenovirus

In early February 2020, The Lancet, a world-acclaimed medical journal, published the results of the third phase of Sputnik V clinical tests. The vaccine has proved to be among the world’s safest and most efficient. Thus, its efficacy is estimated at 91.6% and 91.8% among volunteers older than 60. Ninety-eight percent of volunteers developed antibodies to the coronavirus.