Russia announces first Covid-19 vaccine — and Brazil could produce it

russia vaccine coronavirus
Photo: Bernard Chantal/Shutterstock

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the registration of the world’s first coronavirus vaccine, called “Sputnik V.” According to Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Federation Sovereign Fund, two large Brazilian companies — as well as Brazil’s federal government — are already in talks with Moscow to produce the potential vaccine, he told newspaper Valor. 

Brazil has been the second-worst-hit country in the world during the Covid-19 pandemic, with over 3 million cases and 100,000 deaths.

Mr. Dmitriev said that at least 20 countries have already started bidding for the purchase of 1 billion doses. Expectations are that, with partnerships around the world, 500 million doses can be produced per year in five countries. Besides Brazil, Cuba could also be a pole of production in Latin America.

Russian officials said medical professionals, teachers, and other at-risk groups would be the first to get the vaccine, saying large-scale production will begin in September, with mass application starting in early October. 

Backed by health authorities, Mr. Putin said that the Sputnik V vaccine has “underwent the necessary tests and was shown to provide lasting immunity to the coronavirus.” Russia, however, has offered no proof to back up claims of safety or effectiveness.

The race for a coronavirus vaccine: a throwback to the Cold War

Russia chose the name “Sputnik” for a reason. Sputnik was the first Earth satellite in history, launched into space on October 4, 1957. As the Covid-19 outbreak became the biggest global challenge in the 21st century, many experts say that a new version of the Cold War space race began between Russia, the U.S., and China.

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