Vektor, the Russian state scientific center of virology and biotechnology, based in Novosibirsk, has stopped the development of a vaccine against SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) due to a lack of financing. RosBusinessConsulting received this information from Sergey Netesov, the center's deputy general director. The scientist stressed that Vektor was actually the only center making research to develop a vaccine against SARS in Russia. He linked problems with financing to an increase in electricity prices and a reduction in allocations through foreign grants. The center has sent a letter on the emerged problems to the Russian Health Ministry.
According to the Vektor official, Russia could hopelessly drop behind global developers of vaccines and medicines against SARS. He reported that the USA was close to completing the development of an anti-SARS vaccine and could start human trials at the beginning of 2004.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a briefing in Beijing that the question about the shipment of S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Syria had not been resolved yet. However, Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad said that S-300 missile systems had been delivered to Syria last month
Representatives of the Israeli Defence Ministry responded to recent reports about the possible delivery of S-300 SAM systems from Russia to Syria. Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel would destroy those systems