UPDATED: The Russian vaccine delivered to Slovakia to be tested in Hungary

Director of the Slovak Institute for Drug Control welcomes the laboratory tests but would be surprised if Hungarians performed the assessment.

Sputnik VSputnik V (Source: TASR)

The Russian vaccine Sputnik V delivered to Slovakia will be tested in Hungary, said Hungarian Foreign Affairs Minister Péter Szijjártó.

He went on to say that they were approached by the Slovak side, and the Hungarian government accepted the request, the Denník N daily reported.

At the same time, the Hungarian minister said that his country will not take over the vaccines delivered to Slovakia.

UPDATED: Matovič says Russians want Sputnik V back, but door is still open Read more 

Matovič said that he has asked Hungary for help as Slovakia does not have an appropriate lab to test Sputnik V, Denník N wrote.

Hungary claims it has available capacities to do the testing of Slovakia's batch of Sputnik V in its internationally accredited laboratories, Szijjártó said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

Earlier on April 9, Matovič said that the Russian side has withdrawn from the contract and is demanding that Slovakia returns the batch of 200,000 doses delivered in early March. He criticised the State Institute for Drug Control (ŠÚKL) for tasking a non-registered laboratory with the assessment of the vaccine.

Laboratory says they tested Sputnik V per the health minister's request

The ŠÚKL has denied the claim and is backed by Slovakia’s chief hygienist and also the Biomedical Research Centre of the Slovak Academy of Sciences.

The Biomedical Research Centre is an elite laboratory that emerged from the merger of several institutes of the Slovak Academy of Sciences: the Institute of Experimental Endocrinology, the Institute of Experimental Oncology, the Molecular-medical centre and the Institute of Virology, the Sme daily noted. The centre is led by professor Silvia Pastoreková.

The producer of Sputnik V objected that the Biomedical Research Centre does not have the stamp of the Official Medicines Control Laboratory (OMCL). ŠÚKL does have the stamp, though, Sme noted.

The Biomedical Research Centre stated on Friday, April 9, that they conducted the tests in their laboratories per the request of the former health minister, Marek Krajčí, who cooperated with Matovič to bring Sputnik V to Slovakia in early March.

ŠÚKL head welcomes tests in Hungarian labs

Director of the national medicines agency Zuzana Baťová said during her press conference on April 9 that she would welcome it if the laboratory tests of the Sputnik V vaccine were conducted in Hungary.

She would, however, find it surprising if they were to carry out the assessment process, she admitted.

Baťová explained that ŠÚKL performed the assessment of the vaccine, which mainly involves checking the documentation. The agency brought up 49 remarks, which she labelled as not at all uncommon.

"I very much regret that the raised remarks were perceived as sabotage and a tool of hybrid warfare," she said, as quoted by TASR. Baťová added that all vaccine producers go through the same type of assessment process on the EU level.

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