Time.news – The Russian embassy in Italy is receiving “numerous requests from Regions, companies and individuals to buy the Sputnik V vaccine or to organize its production in Italian pharmaceutical factories “, but invites them to forward such requests” through official government channels “, assuring that” in no way “it would like to cause” discord “in relations between local and central authorities. To speak, in an interview with Time.news, is the ambassador of the Russian Federation to Rome, Serghei Razov, which intervenes on the controversy created by the announcement of the agreement signed between the Swiss company Adienne Pharma & Biotech and the Russian Fund for Direct Investments (Rdif, lender and distributor of the serum) on the production of the vaccine against Covid-19, Sputnik V, in factories on the Italian territory. It is about a first in Europe, where until now only supply contracts have been agreed with Moscow with some countries such as Hungary, which have not waited for the green light from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
Below is the full version of the interview.
Ambassador, the negotiations for the production of Sputnik V in Italy have been carried out by private individuals, unique in Europe, where supplies and production agreements with Moscow have been discussed at the level of governments. Can you tell us more about what Adienne and Rdfi signed: as far as we know, for now it is a memorandum of understanding: what will be the next steps towards a concrete contract?
Rdfi is a sovereign fund of the Russian Federation, created in 2011 to make direct investments in rapidly growing economic sectors and to support companies engaged in various productive activities. In all international economic transactions Rdif intervenes as a co-investor together with other large institutional investors, other direct investment funds, and other main companies in the sector. An analogue of the Russian Fund for Direct Investments in Italy is the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, which for 82% belongs to the Ministry of Economy and Finance and operates in the interests of the State. The agreement between the Swiss company Adienne Pharma & Biotech, whose production plants are located in Italy, and the Rdif is the result of a direct negotiation between the two parties.
As far as you know, was there the intervention of public actors on the Italian side in the negotiations, such as Regions, ministries or our embassy in Moscow?
I don’t know what to tell you about that. Again, these are direct trade agreements. To obtain the information of interest to you, you can contact the company Adienne Pharma & Biotech or the Rdif. We receive numerous requests from Regions, companies and individuals to purchase the Russian vaccine or organize its production in Italian pharmaceutical plants for Italian citizens. Our position in this regard is extremely transparent: Russia is open to any mutually acceptable form of cooperation with Italy in the health sector, including the supply of the vaccine and its production, however similar requests (if this were of interest) must be forwarded through official government channels. In no way would we want to cause discord in relations between the central authorities of Italy and its regions.
If Sputnik does not have EMA approval, who will the production be destined for on Italian territory?
As is known, Rdif approached the EMA in the manner provided to obtain the certification of the Sputnik V vaccine. We trust that this review process can be completed quickly, free from politicization and excessive bureaucracy. From what is known, the Italian side supports this position.
I would like to remind you that starting the production of a vaccine is a long-lasting process that requires intense and highly technological work, and the involvement of qualified specialists that Italy, with its advanced pharmaceutical industry, undoubtedly possesses. Furthermore, the prospect of producing the Russian vaccine in the Bel Paese would give the possibility of creating new jobs in this sector. As for the choice of markets where to sell the vaccine, it is appropriate to ask this question to the parties that have concluded the agreement.
Could you explain to us why, given the fact that Russia was the first to register a vaccine and was among the first to start the mass immunization campaign, the number of vaccinated people in Russia is still low?
The mass vaccination campaign in Russia began on January 18. 7.5 million doses were administered, for a total of 5 million people, of which 2.5 million received two doses and another 2.5 million one. The administration of the vaccine in Russia is taking place according to a set schedule. The vaccine arrives indiscriminately in all regions of the Russian Federation. Sputnik V is produced in six pharmaceutical plants. Production of two other vaccine types registered in the Russian Federation is currently underway. In short, domestic demand is fully satisfied.