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Swiss biopharma company to produce Russian Sputnik vaccine in Italy

Swiss biopharma company to produce Russian Sputnik vaccine in Italy
© Greg Nash

A Swiss biotech company will manufacture Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine in facilities across Italy, the firm announced Monday.

Bloomberg News reported that Adienne Pharma & Biotech announced a deal with Russia's sovereign wealth fund, the RDIF, to begin production near Milan. The company aims to have several million doses manufactured by the end of 2021, pending Italian regulatory approval.

“Adienne will become our first production in Europe,” said RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev, according to Bloomberg. “Launch of production in Italy will help meet the rising demand for Sputnik V and protect many people not only in Europe but also in other parts of the world as the vaccine could later be exported."

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Russia's Sputnik V vaccine, which has a reported efficacy rate of 92 percent for preventing COVID-19 infections, is a two-dose vaccine with lower cold storage requirements than those produced by Pfizer and Moderna. It has been authorized for emergency use in at least 20 countries, though it has not been authorized in the U.S.

Nations including China and Russia have been accused of so-called vaccine diplomacy by the West: providing developing countries with vaccines in an attempt to forge closer ties among their respective governments.

The issue has vexed the U.S., which has not moved to supply vaccines to other countries but has instead opted to work with allies including Australia and Japan to counter those countries' growing reach.

Three vaccines for COVID-19 are currently authorized for emergency use in the U.S.: Pfizer's, Johnson & Johnson's and Moderna's. Some states across the country are still reporting issues in obtaining large enough supplies to distribute to their residents at a reasonable pace.

President BidenJoe BidenFederal Reserve chair: Economy would have been 'so much worse' without COVID-19 relief bills Biden to meet Monday with bipartisan lawmakers about infrastructure Jill Biden gives shout out to Champ, Major on National Pet Day MORE vowed last week that the U.S. would have enough vaccine doses for all U.S. adults by the end of May.