Sputnik V vaccine made in Peru: Is it feasible to have a vaccine production plant? | LIME

Last Monday night, President Pedro Castillo addressed the nation for the first time in a televised message and announced that Peru will have a Russian vaccine production plant against him .

It would be the first plant of this type in the country and although Financing amounts, capacity or characteristics of the agreement to be signed with the Russian government have not been specified, the Minister of Health, Hernando Cevallos, has specified that it is a . This detail implies that the government already raises the need to apply more doses of vaccines against COVID-19 in the coming months. The idea is not far from what is done in countries like the United States, Spain or Chile.

READ ALSO: Peru registers more than 90 cases and one person died from the Mu variant, according to the Minister of Health

The talks for this project, according to Cevallos, began just a week ago, on August 31, following the initiative of President Vladimir Putin’s administration.

What has not been clear so far are the commercial terms of the agreement that would be needed for technology transfer nor the percentage of participation of each country in the financing. “The investment will depend on the negotiations. We do not yet have, within the preliminary conversations, advanced what percentage of this project corresponds to Russia “, he told RPP Noticias.

The closest antecedent is what happens in Argentina, which . At the beginning of August, in addition, the Chilean authorities and the Chinese laboratory Sinovac announced the installation in Santiago de Chile of for national consumption and export to Latin America.

To get an idea of ​​the Argentine experience, José Luis Brea, Economics editor of the newspaper La Nación, explains that The laboratory that produces the Sputnik V doses does not have its own plant but outsources the packaging to the Mr Pharma laboratory. The journalist explains that none of these companies had previous experience in the production of vaccines for humans, a situation that generated suspicions in the population. In fact, the opposition has asked to be informed if Richmond will receive tax benefits that are not due. “Next year the Richmond plant would be financed with a trust of 85 million dollars”he explained to El Comercio.

READ ALSO: Sputnik vaccine production in Peru: What is known about this announcement by President Castillo?

How viable is it in Peru?

Specialists consulted by this newspaper point out that the implementation of a local production plant is positive, but you need to ensure your own infrastructure that allows the manufacture of different vaccines. The vaccine Sputnik V It uses human adenoviral vector technology and it is not the same whether you want to produce inactivated virus or messenger RNA vaccines. Currently, Peru does not have a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) laboratory, an essential requirement for the production of biological products that guarantee quality and safety in manufacturing.

José Aguilar, head of the immunology laboratory of the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, explains that it is a long-term strategy whose investment must justify the possibility of having a wide offer to face COVID-19 and other diseases, otherwise your use will be limited. It’s a good thing, but with that lab we would depend only on the Sputnik vaccine. An agreement would be needed that allows the laboratory to produce others. Have a own plant would demand an amount of about 50 million dollars and all profits stay in the country. The State would save thousands of dollars “, he maintains.

READ ALSO: What is the effectiveness of the Sputnik V vaccine against the Delta variant?

With him agrees the doctor César Cabezas, former head of the National Institute of Health (INS), who recalls that this institution has a project to build an own plant with an investment of almost 400 million soles. Only the execution of the work would take 12 months, without having the authorizations of Good Manufacturing Practices essential for the manufacture of biological products of this type and specialized human resources. This project foresees a capacity of 75 million annual doses under the modular plant model, multifunctional with lines for human and veterinary manufacturing. “The cost benefit is important to analyze. Funds are saved for the State, families, but above all, lives are saved ”, dice.

According to the specialist, during his management [dejó el cargo en marzo pasado] it was possible to send a bill to the previous Congress to declare of interest the construction of this plant, a legal mechanism that would speed up permits and investment. The project was not debated.

In dialogue with El Comercio, Cabezas explained that the interest in having its own plant is not new. In fact, in 2013 they reached an agreement with the French institute Sanofi Pasteur r for the production of vaccines against yellow fever, but this was forgotten “Because it was not state policy”. “As a country we need a timely response to serious health problems. This pandemic is now, but others will come later. The local production of vaccines would allow us sufficient availability to cover the population ”, holds.



The recent classification of variant B.1.621, detected in Colombia, as “of interest” by the WHO has set off alarms, taking into account that there are already some cases detected in Peru. Are there reasons to be concerned?



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