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UPDATE 1-Malaysia secures 18.4 mln doses of Russian, Chinese COVID-19 vaccines

(Adds details, background)

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Malaysia said on Tuesday it had signed deals with two domestic companies to purchase 18.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines produced by Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute and China’s Sinovac.

Malaysian pharmaceutical firm Duopharma will supply the government with 6.4 million doses of Gamaleya’s Sputnik V vaccine in stages from March, the health ministry said in a statement.

Malaysia Pharmaniaga Berhad will supply 12 million doses of Sinovac’s vaccine from April, the ministry said.

The deals will ensure enough supplies to cover 9.2 million people, or 28.75% of the population, subject to approval by Malaysia’s pharmaceutical regulators, it added.

Earlier this month, Pharmaniaga said it had agreed to buy 14 million doses from Sinovac, under a deal that would allow it carry out a fill-and-finish process on the vaccine for distribution in Malaysia, before later manufacturing it locally.

A health ministry official said the purchase of 12 million doses was based on the termsheet between the government and Pharmaniaga.

Pharmaniaga did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the status of the remaining 2 million doses.

Malaysia reported 3,585 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing its cumulative total to 190,434 and 700 deaths.

The Southeast Asian nation has also procured coronavirus vaccines from American and German drugmakers Pfizer and BioNTech, as well as British-Swedish biopharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca PLC.

Reporting by Rozanna Latiff and Joseph Sipalan; Editing by Martin Petty

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