(QCOSTARICA) The Nicaraguan government announced that it is in negotiations with Russia to produce in its territory the vaccine against COVID-19 that the Russians developed and christened “Sputnik V”.
Through a press release issued by the Nicaraguan embassy in San José, the Ortega government said that a team from its government is in negotiations for the production of this vaccine, for the eventual production takin place at the Mechnikov plant, in Managua.
Nicaragua’s Vice President and First Lady, Rosario Murillo, said that Nicaragua would produce the vaccine with the intention of being the distributor country for the region.
“In our Nicaragua of peace and good, we will be able to manufacture these vaccines, as has been said by the director of the Méchnikov in our country, in addition to consuming locally and protecting Nicaraguan families, we will also be able to export, at least to Mesoamerica. and to the Central American region,” said Murillo.
The press release by Managua, dated August 13, 2020, says a team of state officials met in a teleconference with the director of the Institute of Vaccines and Serums Petersburg, Victor Trujin, and with the manager of the Latin American Institute of Biotechnology Mechnikov, based in Managua, Stanislav Uiba, to coordinate the role of Nicaragua in Russian vaccines.
The Nicaraguan officials included the Minister of Health, Dr. Martha Reyes, the president of the INSS (social security), Dr. Roberto Lopez and Laureano Ortega (son of Rosario Murillo and Daniel Ortega), who is the Presidential Advisor for International Cooperation.
The statement said that at the meeting, the parties exchanged “on the actions that will be carried out in the coming months with a view to future production in Nicaragua, of the vaccine against COVID-19, which has been developed and registered by the Government of the Russian Federation, for local and international distribution”.
The statements of the Ortega government have been questioned by opponents. In statements to La Prensa, Dr. Ernesto Medina Sandino, a member of the Nicaraguan Academy of Sciences, assured that there is not a single proof that Nicaragua has produced a vaccine at the Mechnikov plant and said that the announcement is a political strategy of the regime.
Not be a “guinea pig”. Dr. Medina described Murillo’s promise as “pure propaganda. (The Government) is interested in selling us that they are doing wonders in science,” he stressed that calling Mechnikov an institute “is something very pretentious”, since “it is a very modest pharmaceutical factory because it only has one production line, which is injectables.”
“The photos that they (the Government) have given, what they show is a plant for packaging injectables, in the five-milliliter stained glass that vaccines normally come in. Which is very common in the vaccine industry.
“The vaccine against COVID-19 will never be able to be produced by Nicaragua because it is a very complicated vaccine. It is pure propaganda, the government is interested in selling us that they are doing wonders in science,” said Medina, who explained that production involves cultivating the virus, manipulating it genetically and that none of this could be done in Nicaragua.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Tuesday that his country developed the “first” vaccine against the coronavirus, which provides “long-lasting immunity.”
In the weeks prior to this announcement, foreign scientists expressed their concern about the speed of the creation of a vaccine of this type, and the World Health Organization (WHO) called for the respect of “clear guidelines and directives” regarding the development of this product.
So far the official totals admitted to by the Ortega government are 4,155 positive cases of COVID-19 and 128 deaths in Nicaragua.
However, the medical and scientific unions such as the Observatorio Ciudadano say the numbers of infected and deaths are vastly higher than the official numbers and have insisted that the authorities provide “real data” on the impact.