Iran, Russia discuss producing COVID-19 vaccine

Russia’s sovereign wealth fund has been in talks over manufacturing the vaccine with Iran and a number of other countries.

al-monitor A nurse prepares to inoculate a volunteer with Russia's new coronavirus vaccine in a post-registration trials at a clinic in Moscow on Sept. 10, 2020. Photo by NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty Images.

Sep 25, 2020

Iran will join Russia's efforts to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, Russian news agencies quoted the country’s Iranian ambassador as saying. 

The Russian Direct Investment Fund, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, recently inked a deal with India to produce 300 million doses of its “Sputnik V” vaccine and it appears Iran will be among the next countries to strike a similar deal.

Russian state-owned news outlets reported that Iran’s ambassador to Moscow, Kazem Jalali, discussed manufacturing the vaccine with fund head Kirill Dmitriev. 

“Our officials have held several rounds of consultations and we announced that we will cooperate," Jalali said on Friday, per Reuters. “That includes joint production with Russia. Iran has great potential to produce the vaccine."

Russia announced in August that the Sputnik V vaccine — named for the world’s first artificial satellite — was approved for use after just two months of testing. Worldwide, some 300 vaccine candidates have been put into development and at least 39 are undergoing clinical trials, according to the World Health Organization. 

Iran claims to have developed its own coronavirus vaccine. In mid-September, state news outlets quoted Health Minister Saeed Namak as saying that researchers were ready to move to human trials after successfully testing a vaccine on animals. 

Since confirming its first case in February, Iran remains the hardest-hit country in the Middle East. The country has reported more than 25,000 deaths from the virus and over 436,000 infections. The Iranian Health Ministry warned this week that a “third wave” of infection is imminent.

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