Work is carried out in a laboratory at the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute, where a Covid-19 vaccine is being developed.
Work is carried out in a laboratory at the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute, where a Covid-19 vaccine is being developed. Vyacheslav Prokofyev/TASS/Getty Images

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Brazil’s state of Bahia have signed a cooperation agreement to supply up to 50 million doses of the Russian vaccine Sputnik-V.

Deliveries are expected to start in November 2020 subject to approval by Brazil’s regulators with the consideration of results of post-registration trials.

The agreement, made through the state’s Health Secretariat, will also enable the parties to distribute the vaccine across Brazil in the future, the Russian Direct Investments Fund (RDIF) said in a statement on Friday.

“The Government of the State of Bahia, in Brazil, is very pleased with the agreement signed with the Sovereign Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, which will guarantee access to the Sputnik V vaccine for the Brazilian people, as soon as it is approved by the Brazilian national regulatory authorities,” Dr. Fabio Vilas-Boas Pinto, Health Secretary of the State of Bahia, said in the statement released by RDIF. 

“As it is a vaccine built using human adenovirus, which is one of the safest and most effective vaccine development platforms in the world, we believe that the results of the ongoing phase 3 clinical trials will confirm the data observed in phases 1 and 2,” he added.

The RDIF told CNN they expect to announce deals to supply tens of millions of doses of Sputnik-V to other countries around the world in the coming days.

Here’s some background: Russia drew criticism when it announced the world’s first approved coronavirus vaccine for public use in August — even before crucial Phase 3 trials had been completed.

Results from Phase 1 and 2 studies of the vaccine, published in The Lancet medical journal, showed the vaccine generated neutralizing antibodies in dozens of study subjects.

According to the study, the vaccine generated neutralizing antibodies in dozens of study subjects, and while it often caused side effects such as fever, those side effects were mostly mild.

Scientists not involved in the study said that, while the results are a positive sign, only larger, Phase 3 trials can confirm whether the vaccine actually prevents illness with Covid-19.

Still, the researchers are already distributing the vaccine to high-risk groups, according to Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is financing Russian vaccine research.

Russian authorities have singled out teachers — as well as doctors — as key workers who will get access to the vaccine first, even before crucial phase 3 human trials have finished.