Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is set to be commercially launched in India by August, according to the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which has partnered with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL).
DRL soft-launched the vaccine in India on May 14 on a pilot basis. The pharma major said Sputnik V has reached 50 cities and towns in India through tie-ups with hospitals. It said they will roll out the vaccine commercially in coming weeks.
The vaccine is at present imported from Russia. DRL has received three million doses for the first Sputnik dose and 3.6 lakh second doses this month. The import of the rest of the second doses is awaited.
RDIF and DRL are working with several Indian pharmaceutical companies to make the vaccine in India. RDIF has agreements with Gland Pharma, Hetero Biopharma, Panacea Biotec, Stelis Biopharma and Virchow Biotech. It has also signed with Morepen Laboratories and Serum Institute of India for vaccine production. RDIF expects 50% of the Sputnik production in the world to come from India.
Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of RDIF, told a television channel that a sufficient number of second doses will be imported into India shortly. Covid-19 cases in Russia were rising and demand for Sputnik vaccines within Russia had increased four times. There was also demand from other parts of the world for the Sputnik vaccine, Dmitriev said. While demand has outstripped supply, India will continue to remain a priority for the company, he said. Production in Russia has been ramped up and they would produce as much as possible in India.
Virchow Biotech and Stelis Biopharma will make up to 200 million doses a year each. Panacea Biotech and Hetero Drugs will make 100 million doses each, while Morepen has set a target of producing 500 million doses per annum. Gland Pharma will be making 252 million doses. The companies are expected to deliver the vaccines in the third and fourth quarter of 2021.