Sputnik V Covid vaccine registration is ‘priority’ & EU is ‘working hard’ to get it recognized, says Italy’s ambassador to Russia

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By Jonny Tickle

The Italian Health Ministry is actively working together with the EU on the recognition and registration of the Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V in Europe, Italian Ambassador to Russia Giorgio Starace revealed on Tuesday.

Speaking to Moscow daily Kommersant, Starace was careful to note that the lack of certification by the EU is not a political issue, but simply a technical process.

“For me, the issue of Sputnik V recognition is one of the priorities,” the ambassador explained. “I am in contact with our Ministry of Health, which is in touch with Brussels. Everyone is working hard on this issue, and I can only hope that this work will soon bring the desired results.”

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Despite being registered in Russia more than a year ago, Sputnik V has still not been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) or the European Medicines Agency (EMA). That is despite the fact that the vaccine is now being used in 71 countries worldwide, including EU member states Hungary and Slovakia.

The EMA started its rolling review of the jab in March this year, and the lack of any decision has frustrated Moscow. According to the London-based Reuters news agency, approval has not been forthcoming due to gaps in the data provided by the manufacturer of Sputnik V.

Recognition by the WHO has also hit some stumbling blocks. The body’s review was halted in June after an inspection team discovered irregularities at a vaccine-making facility in Ufa, with the plant being accused of “not adhering to good manufacturing practices.” New tests are due to begin again shortly.

Sputnik V was announced as the world’s first registered Covid-19 vaccine on August 11 last year. The jab has demonstrated 97.6% efficacy in a “real-world” study, according to data published by the Gamaleya Center, the body that developed it.

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