New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) Production of the Sputnik V vaccine against coronavirus will begin in India this summer, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and pharmaceutical company Panacea Biotec announced on Monday.
Sputnik V was registered in India under the emergency use authorisation procedure on April 12 and vaccination against coronavirus with the Russian vaccine started on May 14. As announced in April, RDIF and Panacea have agreed to produce 100 million doses per year of Sputnik V.
“The first batch produced at Panacea Biotec’s facilities at Baddi will be shipped to the Gamaleya Centre [in Russia] for quality control. Full-scale production of the vaccine is due to start this summer. Company’s facilities comply with GMP [good manufacturing practice] standards and are prequalified by WHO,” RDIF said in a statement.
“Launch of production in India in partnership with Panacea Biotec marks an important step for helping the country fight the pandemic. Production of Sputnik V supports efforts of India’s authorities to leave behind the acute phase of coronavirus as soon as possible while the vaccines will also be exported at a later stage to help prevent the spread of the virus in other countries around the world,” said Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, in the statement.
“This marks a significant step as we initiate production of Sputnik V. Together with RDIF, we hope to help bring a sense of normalcy back to people across the country and around the world,” added Rajesh Jain, Managing Director, Panacea Biotec.
Sputnik V uses two different vectors for the two shots in a course of vaccination, providing immunity with a longer duration than vaccines using the same delivery mechanism for both shots.
It is developed by Russia’s Gamaleya National Center. It will be the third vaccine to be cleared for the immunisation programme in India after Covaxin and Covishield.
Last month, regulator Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) granted restricted use authorisation to Sputnik V amid an alarming rise in the country’s fresh Covid-19 infections.
With an efficacy of 91.6 per cent, Sputnik V is reportedly the first vaccine against Covid-19 in the world. On August 11 last year, Russia gave approval to the Sputnik V. It is reported in the Lancet Medical Journal that the vaccine has been cleared and approved for mass use in more than 50 countries.
The RDIF has signed a deal to produce 750 million doses of Sputnik V in India. The price of Sputnik V is less than $10 per shot, making it affordable around the world.
The first consignment of 150,000 doses had arrived in Hyderabad on May 1 and the second consignment of 60,000 doses arrived on May 16.