Argentina to begin Sputnik V vaccine production after getting Russian OK

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BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina will begin to produce the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine locally after test batches from the South American country passed quality tests conducted by Russia's Gamaleya Institute, health minister Carla Vizzotti said on Wednesday.

In April, Argentine firm Laboratorios Richmond produced test batches of the vaccine, with plans to scale up once Russia had carried out quality inspections. Argentina has spearheaded use of the Russian vaccine in the region.

"The Gamaleya Institute has confirmed the quality control of three consecutive batches of component one and three consecutive batches of component two," Vizzotti told reporters.

"Yesterday we were informed that the quality control was satisfactory and that we are going to advance in the import of antigens of component 1 and 2 so that Argentina is part of the Sputnik V vaccine production chain," she added.

The announcement comes as Argentina battles a harsh second wave of COVID-19 infections. The virus has left 78,733 dead and 3.8 million infected in Argentina since the start of the pandemic last year.

(Reporting by Walter Bianchi; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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