Presidents Alberto Fernández of Argentina and Vladimir Putin of Russia are to launch Friday the beginning of local production at the South American country of the Sputnik V vaccine.
According to sources from the Argentine Government, manufacturing could start as early as next week with output foreseen at 500,000 doses every seven days.
Production in Argentina will be carried out by the local Richmond laboratory, it was announced.
Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Fund for Direct Investment, is also expected to take part in Friday's virtual ceremony.
But before the vaccine event, President Fernández is due to participate together with Putin in the plenary session of the 2021 Saint Petersburg Economic Forum.
Laboratorios Richmond CEO Marcelo Figueiras explained the current plant in the city of Pilar in the province of Buenos Aires has the capacity to carry out the formulation and packaging of up to 500 thousand doses of Sputnik V per week, although production will be subject to the amount of IFA, the active ingredient, shipped from Russia. If everything goes well, production begins next week; at this moment they are fermenting the active principle of component 1 of the vaccine in Moscow and as soon as they finish they send it here, he said.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) notified Richmond on Wednesday that the Gamaleya Center had approved the samples sent by the laboratory to Russia last April, a step that was essential for production to go ahead.
If Russia sends the raw material and we manage to start next week, by the end of the month we could have the first 500 thousand doses on the street, as long as there are no delays in transport and quality controls, which are factors that do not depend on us, said Figueiras.
”Once production is finished, quality control will be carried out both in the laboratory and in the National Institute of Medicines (Iname) of Argentina and in Gamaleya, but the manufactured doses remain here, so Argentina would save having to go to Russia to look for them, detailed the head of Richmond.
Meanwhile, Presidential Advisor Cecilia Nicolini, estimated that Argentina would be in a position to produce the Russian Sputnik V vaccine at the end of June or the beginning of July, and trusted in the local developments of immunization projects to begin to see results in the coming months. Nicolini also pointed out that there will be a substantial increase in the vaccination campaign to go through the winter and this pandemic as protected as possible.
Nicolini insisted that the Gamaleya National Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology of Russia has already approved the quality control of the Sputnik V doses produced here in Richmond and sent to Russia, for which she stressed that this advance is a very good and very hopeful news.
Yesterday (Wednesday) the Gamaleya Institute approved and gave its quality certificate to the batches produced in Argentina that were sent as samples to carry out these tests, and we hope that from next week we will begin to receive the active principle, [to] start with the process of production and packaging,” highlighted Nicolini.