Serum Institute inks pact with RDIF to produce Sputnik V vaccine from September

Serum Institute inks pact with RDIF to produce Sputnik V vaccine from September

The Serum Institute of India (SII) and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) Tuesday announced plans to start producing the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in India from September.

Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, which is promoting the vaccine globally, said the plan was to produce over 300 million doses of the vaccine per year in India.

“As part of the technical transfer process, SII has already received cell and vector samples from the Gamaleya Center. With their import approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), the cultivation process has begun,” the RDIF said in a statement.

Expressing delight over the partnership, Adar Poonawalla, CEO of SII, said that accessibility of the Sputnik V vaccine in full measure is critical. “We hope to make millions of doses in the coming months with trial batches starting in the month of September. With high efficacy and a good safety profile, it is critical that the Sputnik vaccine is accessible in full measure for people across India and the world,” Poonawala said.

“Given the uncertainty of the virus, it is important for international institutes, and governments to collaborate and further bolster up our fight against the pandemic,” he added.

Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the RDIF, also said that the partnership is a major step to substantially increase production capabilities.

“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. With technology transfer underway we expect the first batches of the vaccine to be produced jointly with SII in coming months,” Dmitriev said in a statement.

The Russian vaccine, developed by Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, was granted emergency use authorisation in India in May.

At present, it is being manufactured by Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd in India. Recently, Dr Reddy’s received nearly three million doses of Sputnik V from RDIF, with which it has a pact to sell 125 million people doses (250 million vials) in India.

On Monday, the Hyderabad-based drug maker said it has expanded the pilot project to over 50 other cities and towns in the country. It added that it will strengthen the commercial rollout of Sputnik V in the coming weeks.

In June, the Centre had fixed the price of the vaccine at Rs 1,145 per dose.

According to results published in The Lancet, Sputnik V has an efficacy of 91.6 per cent.