By Sinikka Tarvainen, (dpa)
HAVANA TIMES – Venezuela will be the first country in the Western Hemisphere to participate in phase 3 clinical trials of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said on Friday.
She spoke at Maiquetia airport after the arrival of a first batch of the vaccine.
About 2,000 Venezuelans will participate in the clinical trials, Health Minister Carlos Alvarado said at the airport.
The trials will start this month, initially in the capital, Caracas, he added.
The South American country will also participate in the packaging and production of the vaccine, Alvarado and Rodriguez said.
The Vice President said the vaccine is an “expression of Russian solidarity to humanity,” during the global emergency.
Russian embassy official Alexey Seredin said the vaccine’s arrival is “a faithful reflection of the strategic cooperation between our countries.”
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro thanked “brother and president Vladimir Putin and the Russian people for their show of solidarity.”
Caracas has boosted ties with Moscow amid US sanctions and the support of dozens of countries to opposition leader Juan Guaido, who claims presidential powers.
Venezuela confirms 76,000 novel coronavirus infections and 635 deaths, though the real figures are believed to be considerably higher.