05:51 GMT15 April 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Developers of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine are demanding an apology from Christa Wirthumer-Hoche, the chairwoman of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) management board and an Austrian health regulator who compared the world's first coronavirus vaccine to "Russian roulette."

    "We demand a public apology from EMA’s Christa Wirthumer-Hoche 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. Sputnik V is approved by 46 nations," a statement released on the official Sputnik V Twitter account says.

    Earlier, Wirthumer-Hoche told the ORF broadcaster that Austria authorizing Sputnik V before the EMA finishes its review would be tantamount to playing "Russian roulette."

    "EMA did not allow such statements about any other vaccine. Such comments are inappropriate and undermine credibility of EMA and its review process. Vaccines and EMA should be above and beyond politics," according to the statement from the Sputnik V developers.

    In early February, Hungary became the first EU country to approve the Russian vaccine. The country authorized Sputnik V based on data from trials in Russia and a comprehensive evaluation of the vaccine by Hungarian experts. On March 1, Slovakia followed suit.

    Last week, a Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) delegation met with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in Vienna to discuss Sputnik V.

    Kurz said in February that he was against "geopolitical taboos" in the EU when it comes to the approval of coronavirus vaccines. The chancellor has expressed his readiness to be vaccinated with the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine or the Chinese vaccine, if they are approved by the EU.

    In August 2020, Russia became the first country in the world to register a vaccine against the coronavirus, dubbed Sputnik V, and developed by the Gamaleya research institute.

    According to analysis of phase 3 clinical trials of Sputnik V, published by The Lancet medical journal, Sputnik V has 91.6 percent efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19.

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    Tags:
    coronavirus, COVID-19, Sputnik V, Russia
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