In a development that could potentially boost India’s vaccination campaign, Sputnik V’s local production is expected to start by August, said Indian envoy to Russia Bala Venkatesh Varma on Saturday.
He also stated that three million more doses of the vaccine will be supplied to India by May-end in the fill and finish mode.
“For Sputnik, 1,50,000 doses plus 60,000 doses have been already supplied to India. By May-end, about 3 million more doses will be supplied in bulk. Those will be filled in India. In June, the supply is expected to increase to 5 million and production in India expected to start in August,” said Varma.
He further stated that according to the present plan, over 850 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine will be produced in India.
“The present plan is that over 850 million doses of the Sputnik vaccine will finally be produced in India. Almost 65-70% of Sputnik produced anywhere in the world will be from India, finally,” said the envoy.
This will be achieved through production and transport in a phased manner.
Sputnik V is being transported to India in three phases — direct exports, fill and finish mode and transfer of technology to Indian companies for full production.
The fill and finish mode refers to the vials being filled with the vaccine in India.
“All these three put together will be about 850 million doses,” said Varma.
He also spoke about the single-dose Sputnik Lite and said if given approval, it will be another “area of cooperation between India and Russia”.
“Russian side has also proposed Sputnik Lite. The regulatory approvals for that in India are still not completed. But once those regulatory approvals are given, Sputnik Lite will be one more area of cooperation between India and Russia,” he said.
The inoculation drive in the country is currently reeling under an acute shortage of doses as scaling up of production has turned out to be a problem.
India currently has two main Covid-19 vaccine producers — the Serum Institute of India, which is making Covishield, and Bharat Biotech, which is making Covaxin.
Sputnik’s supply to Centre
Dr Reddy’s Laboratories plans to supply Sputnik V to the government only when local production begins, an official from the pharma firm had recently said.
“The 50% allocation to government’s demand happens once the domestic manufacturing by Indian companies starts. For the imported product, at the moment, it is our intent to serve as wide a population as possible,” said Sauri Gudlavalleti, Dr Reddy’s head of integrated product development organization.
Besides supplies to the central government, even distribution across the country in major cities is likely to take about two months as the company progressively looks at conducting pilot tests for cold storage, Gudlavalleti said.
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