Moscow needs to work with the following US president to enhance relations, says the pinnacle of the sovereign wealth fund

A woman and her dog leave Red Square in downtown Moscow on September 24, 2020.

YURI KADOBNOV | AFP | Getty Images

Relations between the US and Russia are at a low point, the head of the Russian sovereign wealth fund said to CNBC that Moscow is ready to work with the next US president to improve the situation.

Russia has not yet officially recognized Democrat Joe Biden as elected president and has announced that it will not do so until the election is confirmed. This could take a while, given the litigation initiated by President Donald Trump and the prospect of multiple vote counts. While Trump refuses to admit, Biden is pushing his transition plan, calling Trump’s lack of concession “an embarrassment”.

Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, told CNBC on Thursday that “the votes must finally be counted” before Russia recognizes the election winner, reiterating the Kremlin spokesman’s comments earlier this week.

“Russia will work with whoever is elected President of the US and we are at a rock bottom in US-Russia relations. We want to improve it, so we will work with everyone who works with Russia and has a relationship wants to improve, it is so important for the rest of the world, “Dmitriev told CNBC’s” Capital Connection “.

Coronavirus vaccination

The chaotic change of power at the top of the world’s largest economy will also come if the coronavirus pandemic continues to be hit hard worldwide.

The United States, which has now confirmed more than 10 million cases, hit a new high on Tuesday for the 7-day average of daily Covid infections of 121,153. This corresponds to an increase of 33% compared to a week. This comes from a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. Russia has registered over 1.8 million coronavirus infections, according to Hopkins.

Hope that a coronavirus vaccine would soon be launched was raised on Monday after US pharmaceuticals company Pfizer and German biotechnology BioNTech announced that their Covid-19 vaccine candidate was more than 90% effective. Hopes were further raised when Moderna announced on Wednesday evening that enough cases of the coronavirus had occurred in its Phase 3 study of Covid vaccines to present the preliminary results to an independent safety oversight committee.

Russia, which became the first country to register a coronavirus vaccine in August, announced on Wednesday that its vaccine is 92% effective in preventing people from getting Covid, based on interim results.

RDIF, which supports the vaccine’s development and distribution, said the studies assessed effectiveness in over 16,000 volunteers who received the vaccine or placebo 21 days after the first injection (like Pfizer’s vaccine is Russia’s by two separate cans). The conclusion was based on reviews of 20 confirmed cases of the coronavirus among the participants.

In comparison, the Pfizer / BioNTech analysis was based on 94 confirmed Covid infections among 43,538 participants. A study must reach a certain number of infections before data is published, as it shows that the virus is present in those who receive the vaccine or placebo.

RDIF said Russia’s interim study results would be published “in one of the leading international journals,” but did not specify when.

When asked if the analysis of 20 Covid cases confirmed a sample size that was too small, Dmitriev said that the clinical protocol dictated that this number was the time the first “checkpoint” for intermediate data was triggered.

“We are very cautiously optimistic about the data,” Dmitriev told CNBC. “It is very important that data speak, not Russia.”

He added that the next checkpoint – the effectiveness of the vaccine – would be analysis of 39 infected people.

“So we’re going to keep the world informed, but we think it’s very good data, of course, as even 50% efficiency is considered good. And anything over 90% is great,” he said.

“We are very excited about the results from Pfizer. We know the Moderna results will be published soon. We want all vaccines to be successful, the world needs successful vaccines.”

– Abigail Ng of CNBC contributed to this story.

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