The Minister of Health was last week in the Russian embassy (Franco Fafasuli)
The translators work around the clock to meet the goal as quickly as possible: translate the reserved document containing the technical details of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. There are 11 thousand pages, written in English, with dozens of formulas and scientific data. This dossier is uploaded in stages to the National Administration of Medicines, Food and Medical Technology (ANMAT), the control authority that must authorize or reject the use of the vaccine in the country. Apart from the administrative procedure, the Government is already working on the gigantic logistics operation necessary to transport the vaccine to Ezeiza and then to vaccination centers throughout the country. Contacts with the Russians are regular but secretive. Last week, as he learned . From official sources, Health Minister Ginés González García traveled to the headquarters of the Russian embassy in Buenos Aires. Negotiations are progressing although so far there is no document signed between the two states. Much less a cash advance.
Ginés did not participate in the secret trip to Moscow. The Argentine delegation was made up of Vice Minister Carla Vizzotti and Presidential Advisor Cecilia Nicolini. As . revealed, three representatives of the Argentine laboratory HLB Pharma also traveled, the wife of Buenos Aires minister Daniel Gollán, and Mariana De Dios, a young businesswoman from Santa Cruz who has a close personal relationship with Vice President Cristina Kirchner.
The Minister of Health found out the details of that trip only on October 26, during a meeting held by the two sent with President Alberto Fernández in the villa in Olivos. Ginés participated in that meeting but was outside the previous negotiations with the Russians. In fact, it maintains an open confrontation with the laboratory that initiated the procedures before the ANMAT. The reasons for this intern are well known in the laboratory world.
Cristina Kirchner met with the Russian ambassador before the official announcement.
Last Thursday, Ginés spent more than three hours at the Russian embassy. Although no details of that visit were disclosed, the conversation would have revolved around the technical details of the vaccine and the possibility of reaching an agreement between the two states, official sources confirmed.
“It has not yet been decided how the vaccines will be transferred to Ezeiza. There are few companies in the world trained for this job”Explained a source familiar with the negotiations. In the Argentine government there is also a plan to bring small quantities on Aerolineas Argentinas planes, as happened at the beginning of the pandemic with medical products arriving from China.
With the vaccines in Ezeiza, another special operation for local distribution will begin. During these hours it is evaluated to give that task to the Argentine Mail.
A researcher working in the Russian vaccine laboratory FIDR
Before all that, the Russian vaccine needs the approval of the ANMAT. The administrative process is tedious. “For biological products, the documentation must be presented in the CTD (Common Technical Document) format, an international format accepted and approved by many countries,” one of the experts explained to this medium.
That format has five modules. The first three have to do with formalities and details about the manufacturing process. And the last two are about clinical trials. “The last two modules are accepted in the original language or in English. The rest must be translated into Spanish ”, adds that same source.
Translators who are in charge of this task work under strict confidentiality contracts and are prohibited from transferring documentation.
In the case of Sputnik V, another complication is added: the documentation that arrived from Russia must be technically cataloged before being translated and loaded into the ANMAT system, which will have 30 days to render a verdict.
“We are slow in loading data due to all the complications that the process has”, They recognize in the Argentine laboratory. When could the vaccine be applied in our country? Those same sources assure that the vaccine would only arrive at the end of the first quarter, far from the government’s projections. In fact, it is not yet confirmed if the doses for our country will come from India, Turkey or South Korea.
On November 6, when publicly announcing the agreement with the Russians, Alberto Fernández considered that “If all goes well, by the end of December some 10 million people could be vaccinated” in Argentina. In the last hours, during an interview with Marco Enríquez-Ominami, he reiterated that date: “We want to try to vaccinate as many people as possible in January and February.” However, official sources confirmed to this medium that an agreement with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has not yet been signed. Not even an advance was paid for the 25 million committed doses.
Yesterday, in an interview with A24, the President also predicted that the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine will be out from March. “Pfizer had promised to bring the vaccine to around 750 thousand people in the month of December, now that delivery has been delayed a bit,” he added. The Government also bet to receive as soon as possible a special batch from a vaccine bank coordinated by the World Health Organization.
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