Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked French President Emmanuel Macron for help in the production of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V, writes the French publication Challenges with reference to a diplomatic source. According to the newspaper, during a telephone conversation on November 7, Putin said that it is necessary to establish cooperation between the Russian organizations and the Pasteur Institute to produce the drug.
Macron asked the Russian president to give him time to discuss the issue with scientists. According to the source, the Russian side has been offering joint work on the production of the COVID-19 vaccine for several weeks. "This reflects their main weakness: the lack of production capacity," the source said.
On November 7, the Kremlin's press service reported about a telephone conversation between the presidents of Russia and France, during which they discussed the establishment of ties between Russian manufacturers and the Pasteur Institute.
Earlier, The Bell newspaper wrote that, contrary to the promises of officials that mass vaccination of the population will begin in Russia by the end of the year, there are no producers who are ready to ensure its production. The main problem is that industrial production of the vaccine requires large capacity bioreactors, with which there were difficulties.
Vladimir Putin also raised this issue at the end of October. "There are certain problems associated with the presence or absence of certain equipment - the so-called "iron," – to begin industrial production," the president said.
The Russian COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology was officially registered on August 11, making it the first registered vaccine against COVID-19 in the world. At the same time, by the time of registration, it had passed only 2 phases of clinical trials, that is, it was tested on several dozen people. Russia began production of the vaccine at the end of August. Moscow authorities have already prepared 10 billion rubles, which will be used to purchase the vaccine for mass vaccination of the population.
In the summer, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) announced that by the end of the year, Russia will produce 30 million doses for the country's domestic needs. But in mid-October, Industry Minister Denis Manturov in an interview with Bloomberg called these promises "nonsense." Hundreds of thousands of 0.5 ml vials will be produced in Russia by the end of the year, but not even a million, according to the interviewees of The Bell.