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South Korean consortium to make 500 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine

South Korean biomedical firms and the Russian Direct Investment Fund are in discussions for the production of Sputnik V vaccines in Korea for export. File Photo by RDIF/EPA-EFE
South Korean biomedical firms and the Russian Direct Investment Fund are in discussions for the production of Sputnik V vaccines in Korea for export. File Photo by RDIF/EPA-EFE

Feb. 25 (UPI) -- A consortium of South Korean biomedical companies is to manufacture Russia's Sputnik V vaccine.

Industry sources in Korea said the consortium that includes firms Binex, ISU Abxis, Boryung Biopharma, Chong Kun Dang Bio, Quratis, Humendix and Andong Animal Cell Validation Support Center are in negotiations with the Russian Direct Investment Fund over specific production quantities and prices, South Korean news service EDaily reported Thursday.

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According to Hankook Korus Pharm, a member of the consortium, South Korean firms are planning to produce at least 500 million doses of the Russian vaccine.

The Russian fund has said one dose of Sputnik V will sell for about $10. South Korean firms will be responsible for manufacturing $5 billion worth of Russian vaccines.

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After accounting for production costs, Korean companies are expected to make a 10% to 30% gross profit per dose, according to EDaily.

Russia came under criticism last year after it said in August it had the world's first COVID-19 vaccine before completing Phase III of trials for Sputnik V.

The country's vaccine and claims of a 92% efficacy rate has gained traction in the scientific community, however.

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In early February the Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical journal, said Sputnik V had a 91.6% efficacy rate against the novel coronavirus, and a 91.8% rate for vaccine recipients over age 60.

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"The development of the Sputnik V vaccine has been criticized for unseemly haste, corner cutting, and an absence of transparency. But the outcome reported here is clear and the scientific principle of vaccination is demonstrated, which means another vaccine can now join the fight to reduce the incidence of COVID-19," the Lancet said.

The Sputnik V doses manufactured in South Korea are not for domestic use. The vaccine is to be exported back to Russia. The doses also will be exported to Iran, Argentina, Algeria, Hungary and the United Arab Emirates, according to EDaily.

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