Italians-Swiss Strike Deal to Produce Russian Vaccine, EU Fuming
Higly paid Euro bureaucrat/parasite says the Russian, and only the Russian, vaccine is like playing “Russian roulette”
Russia’s Sputnik V COVID vaccine has already been embraced by Hungary (along with dozens of other nations around the world), which opted to approve the jab due to concerns about relying on Brussels – concerns that proved to be prescient, as Europe continues to struggle with its vaccine rollout.
In fact, Russia’s “Sputnik V” has been such a big hit internationally, that WSJ reported earlier this week that the vaccine has actually been more successful in international markets than in its home market, reportedly due to a high degree of “vaccine hesitancy” that has left Russia vulnerable to a new surge. Unlike his American counterpart, Russian President Vladimir Putin hasn’t yet received the vaccine.
According to the details of the report, the Swiss pharmaceutical firm Adienne Pharma & Biotech will manufacture the Russian vaccine in Italy’s Milan region, per a statement from the firm’s president, Antonio Francesco Di Naro.
And in the latest victory for the Russian vaccine, Bloomberg reports that Italy has struck a landmark vaccine-production deal with Moscow and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (which financed the vaccine’s development via the world-reknowned Gameleya Institute) which will ratchet up the pressure on Brussels to approve the Russian jab for use in the EU.
Approval by the EU would be seen as a major vote of confidence in the Russian jab, which has been almost universally maligned in the western press despite a glowing report from the Lancet, a popular medical journal. Already, medical regulators in the bloc last week began a rolling review of Sputnik V, following the publication of the results in the Lancet (which suggested the vaccine had an efficacy rate of 91.6%).
Still, resistance to approval remains strong. For example, EMA chairwoman Christa Wirthumer-Hoche said late Sunday that she would advise European governments against emergency authorization of the vaccine.
“It’s somewhat comparable to Russian roulette. I would strongly advise against a national emergency authorization,” she said, speaking on Austrian television. She claimed there were not sufficient data about the vaccine’s safety, claiming that the vaccine must meet EU standards on quality control and efficacy.
Source: Zero Hedge
EU Fumes Over Italy’s Deal to Produce Russia’s Sputnik Vaccine
European Union officials are fuming over Italy’s agreement to manufacture Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, warning they have yet to approve the jab for use in the bloc.
The production deal, announced earlier this week, has prompted an exchange of angry barbs between EU and Russian officials with the head of the European Medicines Agency, EMA, urging member states to withhold emergency authorization for Sputnik, saying otherwise it would be playing “Russian roulette” with public health.
But Italy, along with several member states, including Hungary, is tiring of the shortage across the bloc of coronavirus vaccines and is desperate to accelerate its inoculation program, although Italy’s health minister has said he will wait for EU approval before any Sputnik jabs are administered to Italians.
The remarks by the EMA’s Christa Wirthumer-Hochem, who has urged EU states to refrain from using Sputnik until her agency has reviewed the vaccine properly, has drawn a sharp response from Moscow. The developers of the vaccine are demanding an apology and the Kremlin has dubbed Wirthumer-Hochem comments “regrettable.”
“We demand a public apology from EMA’s Christa Wirthumer-Hochem for her negative comments on EU states directly approving Sputnik V. Her comments raise serious questions about possible political interference in the ongoing EMA review,” they tweeted.
Russia steps in
Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson, said the deal struck between the state-owned Russian Direct Investment Fund, which funded Sputnik’s development, and the Italian-Swiss firm Adienne Pharma & Biotech, could help Italy to make up for the shortfall in vaccines.
Kirill Dmitriev, RDIF’s head, says the deal has the potential to “save many lives in Italy.”
Hungary is already administering Sputnik jabs and the Czech Republic and Slovakia have started to receive doses. Their decision to break ranks with the EU has come as public frustration has mounted with the bloc’s coronavirus inoculation rollout, which has been marred by logistical mistakes and hidebound bureaucracy, leaving EU member states desperately short of vaccines as public patience wears thin.
Ursula von der Leyen, EU president and her commissioners pushed for vaccine procurement and disbursement to be overseen by the EU, arguing it would advertise the bloc’s strength and solidarity while reducing the risk of vaccine rivalry among the 27 member states.
Finding another way
But last month, during an angry session of the European Parliament, she said that individual member states could have vaccinated their populations more quickly had they acted alone rather than having the EU oversee vaccine purchase and distribution. The EU was much slower to lodge purchase orders from Western drug companies than the US and Britain. Production hiccups have compounded the shortfall, prompting last week’s ban by the EU on 250,000 vaccine doses, that were produced in Italy, being shipped to Australia.
The troubled EU rollout has lagged far behind inoculation programs in Britain and the United States. Around six percent of the E.U.’s 450 million people have received at least one dose of a vaccine, far behind America’s 18 percent and Britain is 30 percent.
Serbia, the best performing European nation after Britain, has dosed a quarter of its population, largely thanks to its omnivorous approach and readiness to use a variety of vaccines — those developed by Western companies as well Russia’s Sputnik and China’s Sinopharm. Serbia isn’t a member of the EU.
“Whether vaccines come from China, the US or EU — we don’t care as long as they’re safe and we get them as soon as possible,” Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic told Western broadcasters recently. Last week, leaders from Israel, Austria and Denmark announced an alliance to develop and produce a future generation of coronavirus vaccines. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said EU authorities are “too slow in approving vaccines.”
The deal struck by Sputnik in Italy still needs to be approved by Italian regulators before production can start and before the vaccine can be used to inoculate Italians. Italian newspaper Il Messaggero reported this week that the Italian health minister Roberto Speranza favors using the jab only once Sputnik gets approval from the EU’s medicines regulator.
Russian officials have accused EU regulators of foot-dragging on the approval process for Sputnik, saying they have had months to review the safety of the drug. And they point out Sputnik has been approved by regulators in 46 countries around the world, including Argentina and the UAE. Production agreements have been struck with Brazil, China, India, and South Korea. Austria recently indicated it might be interested in a production deal, too.
Source: Voice of America