Egypt’s Minapharm, the regional leader in recombinant DNA technology, and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) agreed, on Thursday, to manufacture over 40 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) annually in Egypt.
Both parties intend to commence technology transfer immediately. The rollout of the vaccine is expected to start in the third quarter (Q3) of 2021, according to a joint official statement.
They will initially supply over 40 million doses per year through the Egyptian firm’s biotech facility in Cairo for global distribution.
The statement said that the Russian vaccine has been registered in 61 countries globally to cover more than three billion people.
Sputnik V vaccine demonstrated efficacy of 97.6%, based on the analysis of data on the infection rate of coronavirus among those vaccinated in Russia.
Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the RDIF, said that the agreement with Minapharm marks RDIF’s first partnership in the MENA region to produce Sputnik V.
Egypt approved in February the emergency use of Sputnik V, making it the third vaccine to be authorised for use in the country after the Chinese Sinopharm and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines.
Thursday’s announcement comes days after the Egyptian Minister of Health, Hala Zayed, discussed with Russia’s Ambassador to Cairo Georgy Borisenko the possibility to locally manufacture the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine.
Sputnik V is set to be the second vaccine to be manufactured locally in Egypt, after Egypt signed a deal to locally produce the Chinese Sinovac vaccine through its state-owned vaccine marker VACSERA, which officials say can produce 80 million doses annually. Some of the doses will be exported to Africa.