A Brazilian technology institute says it will start production of the controversial Russian corona vaccine in the second half of next year.
The announcement came right after a deal on the vaccine between the Brazilian state of Paraná and Moscow.
The Russians claim to have developed the first effective vaccine against the new coronavirus. Still, experts, among others, question the safety of the vaccine, which, according to some, has been insufficiently tested.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn was also critical of the vaccine. “It can be dangerous to vaccinate millions, if not billions of people too early because it can pretty much ruin the acceptance of vaccination if it goes wrong,” he said earlier.
Paraná’s Institute of Technology, called Tepcar, has said it may begin importing the vaccine before production can start if Brazil’s health watchdog approves the vaccine. Tepcar has signed a contract with the Russian investment fund RDIF.
The fund says the purpose of the agreement is to “organize the production and distribution of the Sputnik V vaccine in Brazil and other South American countries”.
Brazilian public health experts and former watchdog officials are concerned about the vaccine, which has not been tested as widely as it would typically be. The director of Tepcar says he is waiting for the results of test phases 1 and 2. According to him, test phase 3 is still ongoing.
Brazil has been hit hardest by the new coronavirus after the United States. The lung virus has been diagnosed in more than 3.1 million people, and more than 103,000 deaths have been caused by infection.
Because the virus is spreading, Brazil is a suitable test location for vaccines in development. British and Chinese vaccines under development are being tested there. The director of Tepcar has offered to Russia that the Russian vaccine can also be tested in Paraná.