Covid-19 manufacturing roundup: Russia will produce Sputnik V in Peru — report; CEPI calls for established vaccine use in trials
Peru will install a manufacturing plant in-country to produce the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine out of Russia, its President Pedro Castillo announced Monday.
Just about 25% of the population is fully vaccinated, while 33% has received at least one jab. Since August, the daily infection rate has hovered around the 1,000 mark.
Russia and Peru inked a deal for 20 million doses of Sputnik V in July.
Brazil just backed out of an agreement for the vaccine, citing a lapsed registration deadline, despite battling one of the toughest outbreaks in the world. Sputnik V is still awaiting emergency use authorization from the World Health Organization. In June, the agency took issue with its vial-filling procedures at a plant. A report identified problems surrounding the risk of cross-contamination and said that tracking and identifying batches of the vaccine was a concern.
An application for emergency use was submitted to the WHO in October 2020.
CEPI calls for established vaccine use in trials
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations says that vaccine makers should make approved shots available for trials to provide a new high bar for new jabs entering development, Reuters reported Tuesday.
While trials typically study the vaccine in comparison to a placebo, that is proving less and less ethical as time goes on, and infection numbers continue to spike thanks to variants.
To provide the most widespread coverage, new vaccines could be tested against already established vaccines, the coalition said.
“We’ve made huge progress in the development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines that are now saving lives,” Melanie Saville said in a statement, which was published in Nature. “But the pandemic is far from over: developing the ‘next generation’ of vaccines now will reduce inequity by increasing global supply, and meet the challenge of variants.”
The lack of supply of vaccines, coupled with contractual agreements with governments threatens to bring vaccine R&D “to a standstill,” the statement says. It’s the responsibility of governments, developers and manufacturers to free up doses and allow them for use in trials.
Roche enlists Indian company to make generic
Drug developer Hetero has received emergency use approval in India to make a generic version of Roche’s Covid-19 drug, Reuters reported.
Hetero has been licensed Roche’s arthritis drug tocilizumab, which has been used to reduce the risk of death in hospitalized patients and cut down the need for ventilators. There’s been a shortage of tocilizumab, as the Delta variant has run rampant through much of the world.
The drug will be made at Hetero’s Hyderabad facility. The company also makes treatments Covid-19 treatments like remdesivir, molnupiravir and favipiravir.