South Korea's pharmaceutical company, GL Rapha, will start commercial deliveries of 150 million doses of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine to the United Arab Emirates in late February, but may produce additional doses for other markets at Russia's request, the company's press service told Sputnik on Friday
SEOUL (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 22nd January, 2021) South Korea's pharmaceutical company, GL Rapha, will start commercial deliveries of 150 million doses of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine to the United Arab Emirates in late February, but may produce additional doses for other markets at Russia's request, the company's press service told Sputnik on Friday.
In November, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said that GL Rapha would supply over 150 million doses of Sputnik V developed by the Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute to foreign countries each year. In December, Russia received the first batch of Sputnik V doses produced in South Korea and exposed them to quality testing.
"We have received a reply that, in general, there are no problems. That is why now we are busy with the cell culture - the raw material for mass production. And have agreed on the arrival of Russian specialists from the Gamaleya institute in early February. We will together monitor the processes and, according to our calculations, in late February or early March, we will deliver the first batch. The production of the substrate is underway," the press service said.
The company added that the first 150 million doses of Sputnik V that GL Rapha would produce were reserved by the United Arab Emirates, but the manufacturer might deliver the vaccines to other countries, including Russia itself, if it received a respective requirement from RDIF.
"Anyway, Russia possesses the rights for this product. That is why, if the Russian side asks us to do it, we will be able to send there as well. Though the Middle East is set out in our contract, in fact, Russia has transferred technologies to us, and we carry out only the contract manufacturing. Thus, I believe that we can say that we will deliver there, where the Russian side tells us. I can not tell exactly whether this will require amendments to the treaty. But, anyway, we are also discussing the contract manufacturing that will go above those 150 million doses intended for the Middle East. Consequently, I would say that this is an open question," the company said.
GL Rapha added that the annual global demand for Sputnik V might surpass 350 million doses that RDIF planned to produce at its foreign facilities every year.
"For many countries, it is very difficult to establish their own production. And the only way is to export from the countries where the manufacturing exists ... And if now the major consumers are the developed countries, eventually it will come to the developing countries. Thus, in my opinion, the annual demand will be significantly higher than 350 million. Besides, the pandemic will not end immediately. There is a high chance that COVID-19 will become a seasonal disease like flu. That is why we believe that there will be a demand, and are discussing a contract on larger amounts," the company said.
In August, Russia registered the world's first COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology. According to the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Kirill Dmitriev, Russia will produce all export doses of Sputnik V at foreign facilities based in Brazil, China, India and South Korea.