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DRL steps up Sputnik V supplies with second dose from Panacea Biotec

Buoyed by supplies from Panacea Biotec, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL) is now looking at liquidating the stock of around 2.6 mn Sputnik V first dose components it has.

Meanwhile, a Sputnik Light (first dose of Sputnik V) roll out can also happen soon if the Indian regulator allows. This would ensure faster roll-out of the first dose component of the Sputnik V vaccine.

DRL, the sole distributor of Sputnik V in India under an agreement with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), had received around 3.1 mn first dose components of the Sputnik V, and about 4.5 lakh doses of the second dose component from Russia. This had held back the roll-out of the Sputnik V vaccine here in India.

Sputnik V is a heterogeneous vaccine where the first and second doses are different and use two different vectors Ad26 and Ad5. Thus to roll out the vaccine, DRL needed both the components in hand.

This week, Panacea Biotec, a manufacturing partner of RDIF, has supplied the first shipment of one million doses of the second component of Sputnik V for sale in India. This is the first batch of the second dose component produced and supplied by the company in India. The doses manufactured at Baddi, Himachal Pradesh have got clearance from the Central Drug Laboratories (CDL), Kasauli in end of August.

A DRL spokesperson said: “As announced by our partners, the RDIF and Panacea Biotec, supply of the second dose component manufactured by Panacea Biotec has now commenced. Dr. Reddy’s has initiated supply of the first dose component to partner hospitals all over India followed by equivalent quantities of the second dose component.”

The company added that with more batches of the second dose component to follow from the manufacturing site, it expects this momentum and supply to continue.

Consistent and speedy dispatches are critical as hospital industry sources point out that imported Sputnik V doses may soon run out of shelf life.

Thus, liquidation of the existing stock is necessary. “We have asked for assurance from DRL that it would take the stock back if there is no offtake before the expiry date. We will purchase from the company provided such an assurance is provided,” said a senior executive at a hospital which has been administering Sputnik shots.

DRL did not wish to comment on the shelf life of the imported vaccine.

Meanwhile, supplies from more Indian manufacturing partners are expected soon. Serum Institute of India is likely to start production of Sputnik V by October. Business Standard