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Russian COVID-19 vaccine to cost less than $20, free for citizens

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Russia’s two-shot Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine will cost less than $20 per person on international markets and will be free of charge for Russian citizens, according to a statement on the official Sputnik V Twitter account.

Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund, told the Reuters news agency Sputnik V earlier on Tuesday that it would be priced significantly lower than rivals with similar efficacy levels.

He was speaking after RDIF and the Gamaleya National Center said new clinical trial data based on 39 confirmed cases and 18,794 patients who got both shots had shown that Sputnik V was 91.4 percent effective on day 28 and more than 95 percent effective on day 42.

The announcements come as several drugmakers unveil positive interim data in a scientific race to curb the global pandemic.

British drugs group AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, which has pledged it will not make a profit on the vaccine during the pandemic, has reached agreements with governments and international health organisations that put its cost at about $2.50 a dose.

Pfizer’s vaccine costs about $20 a dose, while Moderna’s is $15-25, based on agreements the companies have struck to supply their vaccines to the US government.

The Russian drug is named Sputnik V after the Soviet-era satellite that triggered the space race, a nod to the project’s geopolitical importance for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

RDIF has said as of November 11, no serious side effects had been reported during the Sputnik V phase three trial.

Some volunteers had short-term minor adverse effects such as pain at the injection site and flu-like symptoms including fever, weakness, fatigue, and headaches, it said.

Source: Aljazeera

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