Putin touts third vaccine as BRICS presidents call for more collaboration in the wake of Covid-19

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Russian President Vladimir Putin seen on June 30, 2020.
Russian President Vladimir Putin seen on June 30, 2020.
Alexei Druzhinin/TASS via Getty
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has strengthened views among BRICS member states that multilateralism in warranted in times of crises.
  • Delivering an address to the 12th BRICS summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin said work on a third vaccine against Covid-19 is in the pipeline.
  • SA president Cyril Ramaphosa reiterated calls for support to developing nations trying to rebuild their economies in difficult times.

Russia has a third vaccine against Covid-19 and India and China are prepared to manufacture it, according to its president Vladimir Putin.

Putin was delivering the opening address at the 12th BRICS Summit, hosted by Russia and held virtually, on Tuesday. Presidents of member states – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa were also in attendance. The multilateral organisation was established in 2009.

Putin acknowledged the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on economies, before he punted the Russian vaccine – Sputnik V. According to a BBC report, trials show it may be 92% effective. Reuters recently reported that Israel is in discussions to purchase the vaccine.

Putin said the Russian vaccine is "active and safe", the aim is to start mass production and companies in China and India are open to manufacturing it, not only for domestic consumption but also to export it. "We have a second vaccine registered against Covid-19 and a third one in the pipeline," he said.

In his address, China's president Xi Jinping noted that the pandemic "wreaked havoc" in many places. He explained that international cooperation was required to tackle it. He said China was working with Russian and Brazil partners on phase three clinical trials and is willing to have similar partnerships with South Africa and India. He said China had joined the COVAX Facility - a global effort to promote access to Covid-19 tools – and would actively consider providing vaccines to BRICS countries, where there is a need.

He also proposed a BRICS symposium on traditional medicine – as a response to Covid-19.

Uphold multilateralism

Xi stressed the importance of overcoming division with unity – and called for global synergy to "beat the virus".  He spoke of promoting openness and innovation, and said pursuing de-globalisation in the wake of the pandemic would be harmful. "We must uphold multilateralism, safeguard peace and stability in the world," he said. 

SA President Cyril Ramaphosa also noted that the pandemic had highlighted the importance of strengthening multilateralism, to advance mutual interests among states. 

"As South Africa and the African continent more broadly, we are grateful for the solidarity we have received from our BRICS partners, both through bilateral assistance and support for our continental response.

"While African leaders acted swiftly to contain the disease, it will take a long time for our economies to recover," Ramaphosa said.

He reiterated calls for the international community and BRICS partners to support a "comprehensive stimulus package" for African countries. "This will enable African countries to contain the disease and rebuild our damaged economies," he said.

Ramaphosa also noted the work of the New Development Bank which has provided about $4 billion of Covid-19 related emergency assistance projects, this includes $1 billion extended to South Africa to support our health and economic response to the pandemic.

He said that the pandemic also warranted the accelerated establishment of a BRICS Vaccine Research Development Centre in South Africa – agreed to three years ago. South Africa has actively participated in Covid-19 vaccine trials.

Health24 previously reported that pharmaceutical company Aspen Pharmacare would manufacture Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine candidate in South Africa.

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