Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), and Serum Institute of India (SII) will start production of the Sputnik V vaccine in India. The first batch of the vaccine is likely to be produced at the SII facilities starting September.
The two sides intend to produce over 300 million doses of the vaccine in India per year.
The SII has already received cell and vector samples from the Gamaleya Centre. With their import approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), the cultivation process has also begun.
The SII is already manufacturing Covishield, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford, along with the Covovax vaccine, which has been developed by Novavax. The SII is also conducting trials of Codagenix in the UK.
SII is the world’s largest company in terms of COVID-19 vaccines production, with more than 500 million doses manufactured.
The RDIF had earlier reached agreements with a number of pharmaceutical companies in India (Gland Pharma, Hetero Biopharma, Panacea Biotec, Stelis Biopharma, Virchow Biotech and Morepen) for production of the Russian vaccine.
Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, said, “This strategic partnership is a major step to substantially increase our production capabilities demonstrating a perfect example of joining forces and expertise to save lives both in India and around the world. With technology transfer underway, we expect the first batches of the vaccine to be produced jointly with SII in coming months.”
SII CEO Adar Poonawalla said, “We hope to make millions of doses in the coming months with trial batches starting in September. With high efficacy and a good safety profile, it is critical that the Sputnik vaccine is accessible in full measure for people across India and the world.”
The Russian Sputnik V vaccine has been registered in 67 countries globally with a total population of over 3.5 billion people.
Sputnik V has an efficacy of 97.6% based on the analysis of data on coronavirus infection rate among people in Russia vaccinated with both components of the vaccine from December 5, 2020 to March 31, 2021.
Meanwhile, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories has promised to strengthen the commercial roll-out of Sputnik V vaccines in the coming weeks. “We will strengthen the commercial roll-out of Sputnik V in the coming weeks. Neither the ongoing soft commercial launch nor work towards its ramp-up in India has been put on hold,” Dr Reddy’s Laboratories said in a statement, posted in its Twitter handle on July 12.
The Sputnik V vaccine was launched on a soft pilot basis in India earlier on May 14. The nationwide soft launch of Sputnik V has reached over 50 cities and towns across the nation.