One of the developers of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine announced Friday that India-based drugmaker Hetero will produce over 100 million doses of the jab.
“Hetero, one of India’s leading generic pharmaceutical companies, has agreed to produce in India over 100 million doses per year of the world’s first registered vaccine against the novel coronavirus infection—Sputnik V,” the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said in a statement, adding that production was expected to start in early 2021.
Earlier this week, Russia said interim results from the Sputnik V clinical trials showed the vaccine was 95 percent effective, similar to other international vaccine makers that have also published test results showing efficacy rates of 90 percent and higher.
Russia also announced that the Sputnik V vaccine will be priced at $10 per dose on international markets, costing less than some other registered COVID-19 vaccines.
Russia was the first country to announce the registration of a coronavirus vaccine in August – dubbed Sputnik V after the Soviet-era satellite – but did so ahead of large scale clinical trials.
Currently, the third and final phase of trials is underway, with some 40,000 volunteers involved in blind testing of the vaccine that uses two different human adenovirus vectors.
More than 23 million people will be under the tightest restrictions once England’s nationwide coronavirus lockdown ends next week, but London will escape the toughest rules, the government said.
England will return to a regional tiered system when the national stay-at-home order ends on December 2, and 23.3 million residents in the worst-hit areas are set to enter the “very high” alert level.
They include the major cities of Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield, with people there facing at least two weeks in the top tier.
The toughest restrictions – which were in place before the shutdown, but only for 8.6 million people – will compound difficulties for already struggling businesses, with hospitality and leisure facilities to remain closed.
Bolsonaro rejects vaccine
Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro has said he will not take a vaccine against the coronavirus even after it receives approval from his own government.
“I’m telling you, I won’t take it (the vaccine),” he said in a video posted to social media on Thursday. “It is my right.”
Brazil has recorded over 170,000 coronavirus deaths, according to an AFP tally, behind only the United States.
Bolsonaro faces criticism for his handling of the pandemic, which has included playing down the virus, opposing lockdown measures and relentlessly promoting the drug hydroxychloroquine despite studies showing it is ineffective against COVID-19. AFP