After the successful development of Covishield, Serum Institute of India (SII) has now joined hands with Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) for the production of Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine. According to a joint statement released on July 13, the first batch of Sputnik V doses will be produced at SII’s facilities in September.
As part of the technical transfer process, the Pune-based biotechnology company has already received cell and vector samples from Gamaleya Center located in Moscow. “With their import approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), the cultivation process has begun,” said RDIF.
Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of RDIF said, “This strategic partnership is a major step to substantially increase our production capabilities demonstrating a perfect example of joining forces and expertise to save lives both in India and around the world.”
The two parties – SII and RDIF, aim to produce more than 300 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine in India per year. However, this is not the first time that Russia’s sovereign wealth fund has come into an agreement with an Indian pharmaceutical institute. Morepen, Gland Pharma, Hetero Biopharma and Stelis Biopharma are some of the companies that it had earlier reached agreements with.
Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, on the other hand, holds the sole distribution rights for the first 250 million doses of Sputnik V in the country. It soft-launched the vaccine on May 14 and has expanded the distribution to over 50 cities and towns across India so far.
Globally, the Russian Sputnik V vaccine has been registered in over 67 countries that amount to around 3.5 billion people. According to the data obtained by regulators of countries like Argentina, Hungary, Mexico, the UAE and Serbia, it is deemed as one of the safest and most effective vaccines against Covid-19.