According to our information, two Algerian factories will produce the Russian vaccine Sputnik V from May. A significant project for Algiers, which intends to offer doses to its African partners.
At the end of January, Russian experts visited Algeria. It was then a question of preparing the future launch of the manufacture of the Sputnik V vaccine on Algerian soil. Algiers wanted to take a step ahead in what is called "vaccine diplomacy" in Africa. While doses from large Western laboratories had already been reserved, Africa had gradually turned to Russia, China and India. As part of the Covax initiative, AstraZeneca vaccines from Indian pharmaceutical firm Bharat Biotech have been delivered to mainland soil in recent weeks. Corn the suspension of this vaccine in several countries suggests a disinterest of African countries for AstraZeneca, based on the precautionary principle.
9 million euros for the purchase of 500 doses
A godsend for China and for Russia. Moscow has established links with Algiers, and the authorities of the two countries have agreed to possibly launch the manufacture of the Sputnik V vaccine in the Maghreb country. At the end of January, the Russian ambassador in Algiers, Igor Beliaev, announced that "Russian specialists will go to Algeria to visit pharmaceutical factories". He claimed that manufacturing the Russian vaccine in Algeria would take "six to nine months." A month earlier, the Algerian Ministry of Finance, Abdelaziz Fayed, announced an envelope of more than 9 million euros for the purchase of 500 doses of the Russian vaccine.
But the manufacture of doses on site would be a plus for Algeria. First of all, from a health point of view, in order to be able to vaccinate its population. But diplomatically, above all, it would be a huge blow for Algiers: several African countries have asked laboratories to agree to let them produce doses, especially in South Africa, but without success. Barely in Africa in recent years, the road in particular blocked by an enterprising Morocco, Algeria could have, with the anti-Covid-19 vaccine, a formidable weapon to discuss with the various African governments. And according to our information, the agreement reached between Russia and Algeria is in the process of being concretized.
Two factories in Constantine and El Harrouch
Kamel Sanhadji, appointed president of the National Health Security Agency last June, is very active behind the scenes. The professor would like to install not one but two laboratories: the first within the University of Constantine, the other in El Harrouch, in the wilaya of Skikda. A source familiar with the matter explains that a joint venture between the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), responsible for marketing the vaccine abroad, and an Algerian pharmaceutical company has been created. The production of the Sputnik V should begin next May. A first in Africa, which obviously places Algeria in a good position on a continent which has found in the Russian vaccine an interesting alternative to Western laboratories.
According to an official from the Algerian Ministry of Health, the strategy should allow Algiers to develop its diplomacy throughout the continent. "These two production plants will allow all Algerians to be vaccinated, but doses will also be offered to Tunisia and several African countries", explains this anonymous source. Lagging behind in political diplomacy, even more since Morocco obtained recognition of its sovereignty over Western Sahara by Washington, Algiers is trying to revive itself. With economic partnerships, but also in the health sector. "Algeria produces 25% of the African market in drugs, which legitimizes the interest of the Russians for this country in the context of vaccine production", summarizes a specialist in medicine.