The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) informed on Saturday that the production in India of Sputnik V, the Russia-made vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is expected to come “fully on stream” in September.
“Production in India is expected to come fully on stream in September. RDIF expects India to become a major production hub of Sputnik V,” a statement from RDIF, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, that markets the vaccine globally, said. The statement also mentioned various Indian pharmaceutical firms with which RDIF has tied up to manufacture the shot in India. These are the Serum Institute of India (SII), Hetero Biopharma, Gland Pharma, Panacea Biotec, Stelis Biopharma, Virchow Biotech and Morepen Laboratories.
The September timeline mentioned in the statement is line with an announcement from earlier this month that the Pune-based SII will begin producing Sputnik V in September. SII, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, will produce more than 300 million doses annually, beginning this year itself.
The fund also dismissed speculations in sections of media that the manufacturing of the second component of batches will be delayed. “Such reports, based on anonymous sources, are incorrect. A number of our partners in India have already produced the second component batches, which are being verified at the Gamaleya Center in Russia. Transfer of technology to our partners in India is also in process, and there is an active exchange between vaccine production specialists from the two countries,” it said.
The Gamaleya Institute, which comes under Russia’s ministry of health, developed the vaccine with assistance from RDIF.
Sputnik V, which has a two-dose regimen, was approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) in April, when the country was in the grip of a devastating second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The first 250 million doses of the vaccine will be marketed by the Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy’s Laboratories.
Vaccination with Sputnik V in India began in Hyderabad in May in what was a soft launch roll-out. Since then, the jab, found 91.6% effective against Covid-19, has been launched to at least 50 cities or towns across the country. ANI