Made in Italy: Sputnik V
Italy is to become the first EU country to produce the Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V. The Italian-Swiss pharmaceutical company Adienne has announced that it will manufacture the vaccine at its plant in Caponago in Lombardy starting from July - regardless of whether or not the vaccine receives EU approval. Commentators view the move with scepticism.
Moscow gains a foothold in the EU
Italy is getting caught up in the row between Brussels and Moscow, Corriere della Sera fears:
“'The European Union has said it wants to make do without Moscow's vaccine and rely instead on Western products. The President of the European Council Charles Michel rejected Russia's plans saying 'they organise highly limited but widely publicised operations to supply vaccines to others,' and this was also the case with the licence granted to the Italian company. A licence that even our government did not know about. Both the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have said that they were not informed in advance. The Russian initiative to gain a foothold in the EU via the Italian factory seems to be causing a number of problems at the political level.”
Soon no one will be queuing up for Sputnik
Moscow can still pursue vaccine diplomacy - but not for much longer, Corriere del Ticino predicts:
“It is a widespread misconception that access to patents would suffice to quickly resolve the problem of vaccine shortages. In reality, many manufacturers are happy to share their patents because they do not have the necessary facilities for large-scale production. ... This is also the case with Russia, which has an excellent product and is asking for help from countries like China and India which have the necessary industrial resources. The picture will change within three months. Because the completion of the American vaccination programme, which is scheduled for the end of May, will free up two million doses per day. This quantity, combined with the new facilities that will start producing the vaccine, promises to radically change the supply situation by the end of the year.”