Sputnik V production to begin soon in Turkey

Production of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine is set to begin soon in Turkey, the head of Russia's Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said on Monday in a statement

To produce Sputnik V, RDIF has partnered with the Turkish company Viscoran İlaç to begin production after the later conducted studies on what it would take to push it further down to local pharmaceutical firms. No specific production start day was announced, but the statement made clear some negotiations were still ongoing related to technology transfer with Viscoran İlaç as well as with two other unnamed companies. 

Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, commented that the partnership will help boost production of Sputnik V globally. Öztürk Oran, the Chairman of Viscoran İlaç Board of Directors, said that he was pleased to contribute to further development for the vaccine's production. 

Russia's Sputnik V was registered in last August, prompting much speculation about its actual efficacy because trials for the vaccine were not yet completed. Moscow touts it as a national achievement and has worked assiduously to promote its export worldwide. Current studies from The Lancet medical journal put Sputnik V's efficacy at 91.6 percent but RDIF claims it is higher 97.6 percent.

Turkey's interest in Sputnik V increased as cases of COVID-19 skyrocketed in recent months, prompting another nationwide lockdown. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the decision to institute the lockdown which would last until May 17 after a cabinet meeting on Monday. 

Turkish regulators at times received the ire of Russian officials by repeating that the vaccine would not be accepted until all necessary testing was complete. Talks on starting production of Sputnik V began in March. 

The country on Monday recorded 353 deaths linked to the deadly virus and 37,312 new cases.