Serum Institute of India (SII) and Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) on Tuesday said production of the Sputnik V vaccine would start in September. SII and RDIF plan to produce 300 million doses of the vaccine annually in India at the former’s facilities in Pune.
With this agreement, RDIF expects India to be the biggest production hub for the Sputnik vaccine, making vaccines for both local and global consumption. RDIF also has signed agreements with other Indian manufactures and has said it plans to produce a total of 850 million doses per year in the country.
The transfer of technology to SII has started and as part of the process, SII has already received cell and vector samples from the Gamaleya Center in Moscow; the cultivation process began following approval from the Drug Controller General of India.
SII has so far manufactured 500 million doses of Covishield vaccines and 332 million doses have been administered. SII has also started making Novavax’s Covovax vaccine and will now add Sputnik to its portfolio.
Kirill Dmitriev, CEO, RDIF, said the partnership with SII was a major step to substantially increase production capabilities and that he expected the first batch of the vaccine to be produced jointly with SII in coming months.
Adar Poonawalla, CEO, SII, said they would 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 was accessible to people across India and the world.
The Sputnik V vaccine is based on a proven platform of human adenoviral vectors, which cause the common cold. The efficacy of Sputnik V is 97.6% and is administered in two doses using two different vectors for the two shots. It also offers protection against newly detected variants, including Delta, Alpha, Beta, Gamma and the Moscow variants. The Sputnik V is stored in a conventional refrigerator at 2-8 degree Celsius.