Iran Approves Russia’s Sputnik V Vaccine

Iran has approved Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Tuesday, in a win for Moscow as it aims to bolster its geopolitical clout.

Iran, which is fighting the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak, has said it will only rely on vaccines made by Russia, India or China, while also working to produce a homemade jab.

After talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Zarif confirmed Sputnik V had been approved on Monday, adding: “In the near future we hope we will be able to purchase it, as well as start joint production.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei this month banned the use of vaccines made by the United States and Britain, calling the jabs “completely untrustworthy.”

Iran had earlier said it would wait for the World Health Organization’s approval of Russia’s jab before buying it.

Russia registered the shot — named after the Soviet-era satellite — in August last year, before the start of large-scale clinical trials, leaving some experts wary.

Sputnik V’s developers have since said the vaccine is more than 90% effective and several countries outside of Russia have begun administering it, including Argentina.

Russia last week filed for registration of Sputnik V in the European Union, while EU member Hungary broke ranks and purchased 2 million doses of the jab before the bloc had approved it.

Mexico Authorizes Russia’s Sputnik V Virus Vaccine

Mexico on Tuesday approved Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in the country, one of the worst hit by the pandemic, following the release of positive trial results.

The move is a boost to the Latin American nation’s efforts to keep its immunization program on track in the face of limited supplies from other manufacturers.

Regulatory agency Cofepris “has just granted authorization for the emergency use of the Sputnik V vaccine,” deputy health minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell told a news conference.

The shot — named after the Soviet-era satellite — faced criticism last year when it was approved in Russia before large-scale clinical trials.

But analysis of data from 20,000 Phase 3 trial participants, published Tuesday in medical journal The Lancet, suggests that the two-dose vaccination offers more than 90% efficacy against symptomatic Covid-19.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said last week after talking to President Vladimir Putin by telephone that Russia had agreed to provide 24 million doses of Sputnik V.

Mexico has more than 1.8 million known coronavirus cases and nearly 160,000 deaths — the world’s third-highest fatality toll after the United States and Brazil.

The country began mass immunization on Dec. 24 but so far has only used the vaccine developed by U.S. drugs giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

It has also authorized the shot developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, and has a deal to produce the vaccine in collaboration with Argentina.

Sputnik V is registered in more than a dozen other countries including former Soviet republics as well as allies such as Venezuela and Iran, as well as South Korea, Argentina, Algeria, Tunisia and Pakistan.

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