Netanyahu Speaks With Putin About Covid Vaccine

A view of a vial of Russia’s experimental Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, in Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr, File)

Russia has not been left out of Israel’s high-level maneuverings to procure its share of coronavirus vaccines as soon as they become available.

“I spoke with Russian President Vladmir Putin regarding the possibility of purchasing an option on the vaccine Sputnik V,” Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told reporters on Monday. “We will discuss this in the coming days.”

The Kremlin issued a statement saying Putin and Netanyahu had discussed potential cooperation regarding the Russian vaccine, including supplying it to Israel and even producing it in Israel.

Israel was early to sign with Moderna for its potential vaccine, reaching an agreement in June. Last week it signed another deal with Pfizer. Both companies have reported highly encouraging trial results.

“My goal is to bring as many vaccines from as many sources to as many citizens, as quickly as possible,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu stressed that vaccines would not arrive “tomorrow, it will take time, but… we’re talking months.”

The developers of Sputnik V claim it has been 92 percent effective in trials, but the crucial Phase III human trials have not been concluded.

The assessment was based on preliminary results of ongoing Phase III trials, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said, based on a calculation of 20 confirmed virus patient cases divided between those who received the vaccine and those who were given a placebo, out of 40,000 volunteers participating in the trial.

“There were no unexpected adverse events during the trials. Monitoring of the participants is ongoing,” RDIF said.

Israel is also developing its own vaccine that, if successful, could be market-ready by the end of the summer.

Updated Monday, November 16, 2020 at 4:18 pm .