Russia’s sovereign wealth fund has agreed to supply 100 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik-V, to Indian drug company Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, the fund said on Wednesday, as Moscow speeds up plans to distribute its shot abroad.
The deal comes after the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) reached agreements with Indian manufacturers to produce 300 million doses of the vaccine in India, which is a major consumer of Russian oil and arms.
Dr Reddy’s, one of India’s top pharmaceutical companies, will carry out Phase III clinical trials of the vaccine in India, pending regulatory approval, RDIF said in a statement.
Deliveries to India could begin in late 2020, it said, adding this was subject to the completion of trials and the vaccine’s registration by regulatory authorities in India.
Russia was the first country to license a novel coronavirus vaccine before large-scale Phase III trials were complete, stirring concern among scientists and doctors about the safety and efficacy of the shot.
There was no detail about the price of the vaccine but RDIF has said previously it was not aiming at making a profit, just covering costs.
The agreement comes as India’s coronavirus cases surged past 5 million on Wednesday, piling pressure on hospitals grappling with unreliable supplies of oxygen that they need to treat tens of thousands of critical patients.
India is only the second country in the world to cross the grim milestone and said this week it is considering granting an emergency authorisation for a vaccine, particularly for the elderly and people in high-risk workplaces.
The RDIF has already reached vaccine supply deals with Kazakhstan, Brazil and Mexico. It has also signed a memorandum with the Saudi Chemical company.
Russia has billed Sputnik-V as the first vaccine against the coronavirus to be registered in the world. Phase III trials, involving at least 40,000 people, were launched in Russia on Aug. 26 but have yet to be completed.
Currently there are about 165 different vaccines for COVID-19 being developed around the world. The main types of vaccines include vector, inactivated, nucleic acid-based (DNA and mRNA) and recombinant protein-based vaccines. Russian adenovirus vector-based vaccine was registered by the Russian Ministry of Health on August 11 and became the first registered COVID-19 vaccine on the market. The announcement created a so-called “Sputnik moment” for the global community.
In 1957 the successful launch of the first space satellite by the Soviet Union reinvigorated space research around the world. The new Russian COVID-19 vaccine is therefore called Sputnik V.
This website has been created to provide accurate and up-to-date information about Sputnik V and to combat the misinformation campaign launched against it in the international media.
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