KUALA LUMPUR: Russian and Malaysian experts are poised to discuss the possibility of enhancing cooperation in the development of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to Russia’s ambassador to Malaysia, Naiyl Latypov.
He said the Kremlin was seeking to hold a bilateral video conference for the purpose.
“I hope it can be done next week,” he said. “We are waiting for a response from the Malaysian side.”
In April, Putrajaya announced that Russia was among several countries it had identified for collaboration on the development of a vaccine.
Latypov, who spoke to FMT yesterday ahead of Russia Day, which falls today, said scientists in his country were already conducting clinical trials of vaccine samples they had developed and also testing immunoglobulin-based medications.
He added that the conference would not be limited to discussions on vaccine development.
Malaysia and Russia are apparently also looking forward to collaborating on test kits and medical equipment such as ventilators and personal protection gear.
Latypov said Russia was also keen to draw from Malaysia’s experience in managing the crisis.
“The MCO (movement control order) has been very effective,” he said. “It will be useful for Russia to see how it works. There are similar restrictions in Russia, but they don’t work in some regions.”
He also said his side was hoping that the video conference on Covid-19 would be the beginning of a series on a range of bilateral matters, including tourism and the possible establishment of a Russian industrial zone in northern Malaysia.
He said Russians liked to holiday in Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries. “At the same time we would like to see more Malaysians visit Russia every year to get to know our culture and traditions.”
Regarding the industrial zone, he said Russia was keen to establish one in Malaysia to add to the one it has in Egypt, currently its only one abroad.
Latypov also spoke of bilateral trade, saying he was not satisfied with last year’s volume, which amounted to less than US$3 billion.
“We saw a good chance of increasing it this year, but for Covid-19,” he added.
He said Russia regarded Malaysia as a “close friend” and was appreciative of Putrajaya’s “balanced and non-biased” stand on international issues.
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