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Brazilian state to test Russia's vaccine, eyes buying 50 million doses

BRASILIA, Sept 10 (Reuters) - The Brazilian state of Bahia has signed an agreement to conduct Phase 3 clinical trials for Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 and plans to buy 50 million doses to market in Brazil, officials said on Thursday.

Governor Rui Costa said a confidentiality agreement was signed on Tuesday to undertake the trials and Bahia will receive an initial 500 doses as soon as Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa approves the protocol for testing.

Russia has touted Sputnik as the first vaccine against coronavirus to be registered in the world, even though Phase 3 trials have yet to be completed.

Costa said Brazil’s federal government should be doing more to establish international partnerships to help the research on the vaccines that are being developed to fight the pandemic.

If the trials that are expected to start in October are successful, Bahia will look to market the Russian vaccine in Brazil through its pharmaceutical research center Bahiafarma, the state’s health secretary Fabio Vilas-Boas said in a statement.

A source in the Bahia government said the state expects to commit on Friday to buying 50 million doses of Sputnik V.

The Russian vaccine is being developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Research Institute and marketed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which last month entered an agreement with the Brazilian state of Paraná to test and produce the vaccine.

In a briefing on Thursday, RDIF Chief Executive Kiril Dmitriev said “yet another big state in Brazil has agreed to procure 50 million of doses of vaccine,” though he declined to name the state and said the announcement would come on Friday.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Stephen Coates

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