April 22 (UPI) -- Chinese companies have reached agreements with Russia's sovereign wealth fund to produce 260 million doses of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, according to Chinese state media.
The Global Times reported Wednesday that three Chinese companies have signed agreements with the Russian Direct Investment Fund for the vaccines.
Shenzhen Yuanxing Gene-tech Co., a biotech firm, inked its deal with RDIF on March 29. It agreed to manufacture more than 60 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine, or enough vaccine for 30 million recipients.
TopRidge Pharma, another Chinese firm, plans to produce more than 100 million doses. The company, a subsidiary of Tibet Rhodiola Pharmaceutical Holding, signed its deal with the Russian sovereign wealth fund April 1, the report said.
Hualan Biological Bacterin, the third Chinese firm, plans to manufacture 100 million doses. The company, owned by China's largest flu vaccine maker, is to receive a technology transfer from Russian company Human Vaccine.
Chinese analysts say these agreements will boost China's status as a vaccine producer.
"These deals will be the first for a Chinese pharmaceutical company to produce foreign-developed vaccines under an [original equipment manufacturing] arrangement, making China a production base for global vaccines," said Tao Lina, a medical expert in Shanghai.
RDIF has said the Sputnik V vaccine has demonstrated an efficacy rate of 97.6%.
In an article published in scientific journal Lancet in February, Russian scientists said the vaccine has a 73.1% efficacy rate after the first dose and 91.6% after the second dose.
Politicians around the world could be turning to Russia for vaccines amid a shortage.
Germany's Saxony state Premier Michael Kretschmer said Germany is seeking purchases of 30 million Sputnik V vaccine doses, Deutsche Welle reported Thursday.
South Korea's ministry of food and drug safety said Thursday it will take "first steps" toward procuring the Russian vaccine, the Korea Herald reported.
South Korea seeks to achieve herd immunity by November, according to the report.