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The German state of Bavaria has signed an agreement to buy 2.5 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine once it is approved by European regulators.

Markus Soeder, the premier of the southeastern German state, said on April 7 that Bavaria signed a memorandum of understanding for the supply of Sputnik V.

If the Sputnik V vaccine is approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Bavaria is set to receive around 2.5 million doses through a company that would produce the vaccine in the Bavarian town of Illertissen, Soeder said.

Production in Illertissen could start this year, Bavaria’s Health Minister Klaus Holetschek said.

The memorandum includes the possibility of importing the drug as well, Holetschek said, adding, “It is a highly effective vaccine.”

The EMA is currently reviewing Sputnik V for authorization. EMA experts are expected to travel to Russia later this month to survey production and storage of the vaccine.

Russia approved Sputnik V for use in August, making it the first vaccine against COVID-19 to be authorized although medical trials had not been completed at that time.

The EMA will investigate those trials and whether they followed “good clinical practices,” the Financial Times reported on April 7 citing anonymous sources familiar with the EMA approval process. The sources said there were ethical concerns over how Sputnik V was tested before it was released for general use.

The German government, which has faced criticism for a slow vaccine rollout as it struggles with deliveries and supply, said last month said that it would be open to using Sputnik V if it is approved by the EMA.

Algeria also announced news about Sputnik V on April 7, saying that it would start producing the vaccine in September in partnership with Moscow.

The production will be intended for African countries, the Algeria’s minister for the pharmaceutical industry said on April 7.

The North African country, which already has received 50,000 doses of Sputnik V, said in February it was in talks with Russia to produce the vaccine.

The vaccine will be produced in partnership with state pharmaceutical products firm Saidal, which will get help from an Indian laboratory specialized in the manufacture of vaccines, Benbahmed said.

“Three committees are working on the transfer of the technology provided by the Russian side,” Benbahmed said. “Algeria will have its share and responsibility in the vaccination of the African populations.”

With reporting by AFP, dpa, and TASS
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