India’s all-weather partner Russia has agreed to supply coronavirus vaccines to Indian drug company Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and also assist it in conducting clinical trials.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), a sovereign wealth fund, will supply 100 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik-V, to Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, as part of Moscow’s plans to speed up plans to distribute its shot all over the world.
Notably, Russia was the first country to approve a novel coronavirus vaccine (Sputnik-V), triggering concern in the scientific community about the safety and efficacy of the shot. Russia proudly claims Sputnik-V as the first vaccine against coronavirus to be registered in the world. At present, phase III trials are on in Russia, involving at least 40,000 people.
The RDIF has signed deals with Indian manufacturers to produce 300 million doses of the vaccine in India itself. Before India, the RDIF has signed deals with Kazakhstan, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Mexico.
The delivery of Sputnik-V vaccines to India could start by the end of this year, provided Dr Reddy’s carries out phase III clinical trials in time, the RDIF said.
The fund has quoted G V Prasad, co-chairman of Dr Reddy’s, saying the phase I and II results in India have shown promise. “Sputnik V vaccine could provide a credible option in our fight against Covid-19 in India,” he said.
RDIF has not given details on the price of the shot, but it has earlier said that Russia does not aim to making a profit, but only cover its costs.
India’s coronavirus count went past 5 million on Wednesday, with one million cases added in the last 11 days. The country’s medical infrastructure is under pressure as they grapple with the ever-increasing load of patients.
The India government is considering granting an emergency authorisation for a vaccine, particularly for the elderly and people in high-risk workplaces.