Russian vaccine developer plans to sue Brazilian regulator for defamation

The Russian developer of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine said on Thursday that it would sue the Brazilian health regulator Anvisa for defamation, accusing it of knowingly spreading false information. Anvisa’s board on Monday rejected requests to approve Sputnik V for import. Anvisa’s medicines and biological products manager Gustavo Mendes said there was evidence an adenovirus used in the vaccine could reproduce, and that this was a serious defect.

It fired back defensively in a press conference that it had drawn that conclusion from information “submitted by the Sputnik V vaccine developer itself.” “Anvisa was accused of lying, of acting unethically, of disseminating fake news about replicating adenovirus,” said the agency’s director, Antonio Barra Torres. “We refute this grave accusation.” Denis Logunov, who developed Sputnik V at Russia’s Gamaleya Center, denied on Tuesday that the two adenoviruses used to produce the vaccine could replicate. Sputnik V’s official Twitter account on Thursday quoted Mendes, who cited the Russians’ test results at a public hearing on Monday as the basis to deny an import license. Anvisa did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The agency’s standard protocols for approving COVID-19 vaccines involve analysis of the developers’ own testing and clinical trials.