Govt dismisses media reports on Russia supplying COVID-19 vaccines to Nepal

Published On: September 29, 2020 07:18 PM NPT By: Ashim Neupane  | @ashimnep

Several news reports emerged that Russia was supplying 25 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Nepal  

KATHMANDU, Sep 29: The government has said that media reports that claimed that Russia’s sovereign wealth fund was supplying 25 million doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines to Nepal is a rumor.

Senior officials at the Ministry of Health and Population said they are unaware of any such development. “The government is unaware about the agreement between Trinity Pharmaceuticals and Russia’s sovereign wealth fund. The news reports emerged on Tuesday is just a rumor,” said Dr Khem Karki, chief advisor to Health Minister Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal.

The remarks of Dr Karki comes in the wake of several international news reports on Tuesday claiming that Russia agreed to supply 25 million doses of Sputnik V – a possible coronavirus vaccine –to Nepal via Trinity Pharmaceuticals.

Dr Karki further said the news reports just reflect the interest of a number of pharmaceutical companies to supply COVID-19 vaccines. “Russia’s fund and Trinity Pharmaceuticals may have signed an agreement just to create a buzz in the market. Pharmaceutical companies need to seek permission from the government to bring vaccines from the international market. The pharmaceutical company under question has not even communicated to the ministry,” he said.

 Dr Karki also said that the vaccine won’t come to Nepal just because two companies signed their business agreement.

Issuing a statement, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund claimed that agreement will enable 90% of the population of Nepal to get access to Sputnik V vaccine and provide the country's clinics with an anti-COVID vaccine with proven safety and efficacy.

“Thanks to agreement with Trinity Pharmaceuticals about 90% of the population of Nepal will be provided with Sputnik V vaccine. Unlike experimental vaccines based on monkey adenovirus or mRNA, Sputnik V vaccine was created on human adenoviral vectors platform, which has been studied over decades and has proven no negative effects in the long-term,” the statement quoted Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, as saying. “We see a strong interest from other partners in Asia. In this regard, RDIF is ready to supply Sputnik V vaccine to the countries of the region as novel coronavirus infection is our common enemy which can be defeated only by joining our efforts.” 

Director of Trinity Pharmaceuticals Kishor Adhikari also said that the company was excited to announce cooperation with Russian Direct Investment Fund. “Trinity is waiting for results of the final trial of Sputnik V. As soon as the vaccine is approved by the government of Nepal, the company will make vaccines available in Nepal,” the statement quoted Adhikari as saying.


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