Source: President of Russia – The Kremlin – English
The meeting was attended by Director of the Gamaleya National Centre of Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Russian Healthcare Ministry Alexander Gintsburg, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) Kirill Dmitriev, Deputy Director of the Gamaleya National Centre of Epidemiology and Microbiology Denis Logunov, Chairman of the Board of Directors of R-Pharm Alexei Repik, and CEO of AstraZeneca Pascal Soriot.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. I am glad to see you all.
Welcome and congratulations on this significant event, the signing of a memorandum of cooperation.
I am absolutely certain that your commitment to partnership may serve as a compelling example of combining research forces, technologies and investment in order to achieve a common goal, which is to protect the lives, health and safety of millions of people on the planet. Here is what I would like to say. You must have noticed this. My colleagues and I discussed this at length during the G20 summit, a meeting of the leaders of the world’s 20 leading economies. I would like to stress that practically all speakers unanimously agreed that we need to work together to combat the coronavirus. This intention is in fact included in the summit’s final document. In this context, you are doing exactly what the G20 recommended and what the United Nations have repeatedly called for when addressing experts around the world. I am talking about joining efforts.
It is important to use all opportunities that international cooperation offers in order to move as quickly as possible towards the moment when this dangerous infection will finally be defeated. And I am very pleased that Russian specialists, proving their high level of professionalism and scientific expertise, have already made a significant contribution to this common task – they have developed three safe and effective vaccines that can provide a high guarantee of preventing the infection, and in some cases seriously decrease its gravity.
The very first in this series was a vaccine developed by researchers at the Gamaleya Centre with the support of the Russian Direct Investment Fund. I can see all the project participants here, too. The large-scale vaccination campaign already underway in Russia is making use of their invention.
We know that scientists in other countries around the world are also vigorously working on new vaccines. As far as I know, one has been created by AstraZeneca with the University of Oxford. I sincerely greet Mr Pascal Sorio.
To build on these achievements, Russian scientists and our foreign colleagues have made a decision which is based on the principle of an open scientific and professional partnership – and there are no and cannot be any boundaries to that, of course, especially in the current situation.
Just recently, you announced the start of clinical trials to assess the safety and efficacy of the combined use of two vaccines, namely the AstraZeneca and Oxford vaccine and the Russian Sputnik V vaccine from the Gamaleya Centre.
I know that our colleagues in Russia and representatives of AstraZeneca consider this joint programme an essential step in finding the most effective solution to combat the COVID-19 infection. Such cooperation can produce a powerful effect and synergy, both in terms of increasing the efficacy and reliability of the vaccination campaign, of the vaccine itself, and also for its greater availability due to the introduction of various vaccination plans, enabling modern production and logistics, the use of the most advanced industrial facilities in Russia and in other countries.
Today, I am happy to note that it is precisely Russian scientists, our investment companies and representatives of the partner company AstraZeneca that are implementing the World Health Organisation recommendations in real life. Today, you are doing what WHO representatives have repeatedly recommended. They have called for joint action and continue to do so. And you are showing an example of leadership in pooling international efforts and thus bringing victory over this treacherous virus closer.
We sincerely wish every success to all colleagues in all countries. We know that the process is developing with difficulty. We realise that it is necessary to exert the maximum possible effort, while moving along a virtually untrodden road. By the way, this concerns everyone. We can see problems facing our colleagues. It is therefore very important to act hand in hand, being aware of our shared responsibility. We must understand that it is precisely cooperation that can expand on what has already been achieved by certain countries and organisations.
It goes without saying that Russia is ready to pool such efforts and to conduct joint work, especially in those areas which aim to preserve people’s lives and health. In this connection, I would like to note that AstraZeneca has been operating on the Russian market for many years, successfully implementing a number of investment projects. I know that they have even built a factory, and that they are investing in joint research and personnel training projects.
Mr Soriot, we will support this striving on the part of your company and other partners who have been working rather actively in the pharmaceutical sector for a long time in various regions of the Russian Federation. We will do this in every way.
I am confident that cooperation between Russian colleagues and AstraZeneca will make it possible to achieve a breakthrough while working on vaccines and on a number of other vitally important medicines. I know that your company is working in precisely this direction.
In conclusion, I would like to once again congratulate you on signing a memorandum of cooperation and to wish you every success in the joint work. It would be no exaggeration to say that this work is highly important and noble.
Thank you very much.