17:27 GMT25 January 2021
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    Russia was the first country to register a coronavirus vaccine for emergency use. Since then, several countries around the world have expressed interest in testing, buying, and even locally producing the medicine.

    The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Saudi authorities are currently engaged in a discussion on the organisation of third stage trials of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said in an official statement. The sides are also discussing the prospect of the vaccine's local production in Saudi Arabia, the statement added.

    The RDIF and Riyadh have already brought to life several joint projects not related to the vaccine worth a total of $2.5 billion, the ministry stressed. Moscow expressed hope that the cooperation between the two will only expand in the future.

    A vial of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine is pictured in Belgrade, Serbia, January 6, 2021.
    © REUTERS / FEDJA GRULOVIC
    A vial of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine is pictured in Belgrade, Serbia, January 6, 2021.

    The ministry's statement comes ahead of a meeting between Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on 14 January, where the two are expected to discuss an array of topics. Among the issues on the agenda are mutual trade, cooperation in science, the situation on the oil market, nuclear energy, and regional security, the ministry's statement clarified.

    Growing Global Interest in Sputnik V Vaccine

    Sputnik V is the world’s first registered coronavirus vaccine. It was developed by the RDIF's Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and received emergency authorisation for use in August 2020 after preliminary trials. Despite Western media outlets receiving the news of its registration with scepticism citing a lack of public data on the trials and their small scale, some have recently had a change of heart, recognising it as a viable alternative for those seeking to protect themselves from coronavirus complications.

    Since its authorisation in Russia, numerous countries have expressed interest in participating in the ongoing third stage of Sputnik V's trials, as well as either buying the shots from Moscow or setting up production for them domestically. Belarus, Argentina, Serbia, Bolivia, Algeria, and the Palestinian Authority have either already registered the drug or are in the process of doing so. India has also struck a deal to acquire some 300 million doses of the two-shot vaccine over the course of a year.

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    Tags:
    vaccine, coronavirus, pandemic, Sputnik V, Saudi Arabia
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