Russia has announced an agreement with a Mexican pharmaceutical company to supply 32 million doses of its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the nation’s sovereign wealth fund, said in a statement that it had reached a deal with Landsteiner Scientific, which will distribute the vaccine in Mexico.
“Deliveries are expected to start in November 2020 subject to approval by Mexico’s regulators,” the RDIF said.
The Sputnik V vaccine was registered by Russian authorities in August after phase one and two clinical trials “demonstrated no serious adverse events and a stable immune response in 100% of participants,” the fund said.
“Post-registration clinical trials of Sputnik V vaccine involving 40,000 volunteers are currently ongoing. First results of these trials are expected to be published in October-November 2020.”
Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the RDIF, said that “our Mexican partners clearly understand the advantage of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V compared to other vaccine candidates.”
“In particular, they highlight a much greater safety track record of human adenoviral vectors versus novel technologies such as monkey adenoviral vectors or mRNA,” he said.
Dmitriev noted that a survey conducted by the newspaper El Financiero found that 66% of Mexicans have confidence in the Russian vaccine.
“We have agreed to deliver the large batch of Sputnik V vaccine to Mexico which will help 25% of the Mexican population to receive access to the safe and effective vaccine,” he said.
The announcement of the agreement comes after Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard said in late August that 2,000 Mexican volunteers would participate in phase three trials of Sputnik V.
The participation of Mexicans in the trials was confirmed last week but only 500 to 1,000 volunteers are set to take part. The Sputnik vaccine is administered in two doses with the second dose applied 21 days after the first.
Mexico has also committed to participating in late-stage clinical trials for vaccines developed by United States company Johnson & Johnson and two Chinese companies.
If it passes phase three trials, millions of doses of a vaccine developed at Oxford University are slated to be produced in Mexico after the Carlos Slim Foundation reached a deal with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which has been licensed to supply the vaccine.
President López Obrador said last month that he was confident that the vaccine would be available for application in the first quarter of next year.
But Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell said Tuesday that the arrival of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca in Mexico could be delayed as a result of the decision to pause the trials due to a serious adverse reaction in a participant.
According to medical news website Stat, AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said in a private call with investors on Wednesday that the participant who triggered the suspension of trials was a woman in the United Kingdom who developed neurological symptoms consistent with a rare but serious spinal inflammatory disorder called transverse myelitis.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s coronavirus case tally and death toll continue to increase.
The Health Ministry reported 4,647 new cases Wednesday, increasing the accumulated total of confirmed cases to 647,507.
There are an estimated 39,994 active cases across the country while the results of 83,537 Covid-19 tests are not yet known.
Mexico City has the highest number of active cases among the country’s 32 states followed by México state and Guanajuato. At the municipal level, Monterrey, Nuevo León, leads Mexico for active cases with 793.
Mexico’s official Covid-19 death toll increased to 69,095 on Wednesday with 611 additional fatalities registered by health authorities. Based on confirmed cases and deaths, Mexico’s fatality rate is currently 10.7 per 100 cases, the highest rate among the 20 countries currently most affected by Covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Mexico City has the highest death toll in the country with 11,043 fatalities attributed to Covid-19. México state ranks second for deaths with 8,482 followed by Veracruz, Puebla and Baja California, each of which has recorded more than 3,000 fatalities.
Puebla city has recorded more Covid-19 deaths than any other municipality in the country with 1,973 as of Wednesday.
Source: El Universal (sp)