Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine
Image Credit: AP

Cairo: Bahrain has sealed with Russian institutions an accord to set up a facility for manufacturing and distributing the Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 in the Arab Gulf, Middle East and North Africa regions.

A related memorandum of understanding was signed by Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF),Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, and Binnopharm Group.

Attending the signing ceremony during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Russia was Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayan, Bahrain’s news agency BNA reported.

The memorandum of understanding promotes exchange of information and expertise in the sectors and areas of common interest for both entities, it added.

“Our partnership with both RDIF and Binnopharm Group will enable the Kingdom of Bahrain to continue to be at the forefront of fighting this pandemic while working to further enhance the region’s healthcare sector through the establishment of this facility,” Mumtalakat chief executive officer Khalid Al Rumaihi said.

“As the sovereign wealth fund of Bahrain, we continue to look into partnerships and ventures that will add value to our portfolio as well as bring long-term sustainable solutions to the kingdom and wider region.”

Kirill Dimitriev, the RDIF chief executive, said that cooperation with Mumtalakat goes back a long way and has resulted in a successful co-investment programme.

“We are delighted to extend our cooperation to establish a production facility in Bahrain to produce Sputnik V - the world’s first registered coronavirus vaccine. Sputnik V has been included in Bahrain’s national portfolio in February and the vaccine is successfully used to protect the population against COVID,” he said.

“Local production will increase our international production capabilities and help other countries of the region to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

Sputnik V was developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology. Last February, Bahrain authorised the emergency use of Sputnik V to become the fourth approved vaccine in the country.