Russia to supply 100 mn doses of COVID vaccine to India



New Delhi

The Russian Direct Investment Fund is collaborating with Indian pharma giant Dr Reddy’s Laboratories to conduct clinical trials of the Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 as well as its distribution, RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev said on Wednesday.

The RDIF is in talks with Indian regulators to ensure that all the requirements for clinical trials are being met, he said.

“The RDIF and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd, a global pharmaceutical company with headquarters in India, have agreed to supply 100 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine and collaborate on clinical trials and distribution of the vaccine in India,” Dmitriev said in an email interview.

The deliveries could begin as early as November 2020 after the registration of the vaccine by regulatory authorities in India if all goes well, the RDIF chief said. This is subject to successful trials and the regulator’s approval.

An RDIF official said Phase 3 trials will be conducted in India and an announcement on this is expected soon.  

The Russian sovereign wealth fund also issued a statement quoting G V Prasad, co-chairperson and managing director of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories as saying, “We are pleased to partner with RDIF to bring the vaccine to India. The Phase I and II results have shown promise, and we will be conducting Phase-III trials in India to meet the requirements of the Indian regulators.”

Sputnik V vaccine, he said, could provide a “credible option” in the fight against COVID-19 in India.

The Sputnik V vaccine has been developed by the Gamaleya National Research Centre of Epidemiology and Microbiology and RDIF. It uses a two-vector technology. It does not contain live human adenoviruses, but human adenoviral vectors, or genetically modified viruses, which are unable to reproduce and are completely safe, Dmitriev said. Through the use of two different vectors – based on human adenovirus serotypes Ad5 and Ad26 – in two separate shots, it is possible to achieve a more effective immune response, Dmitriev said. He said additional clinical studies of Sputnik V will be conducted in several countries, including Brazil, India, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Belarus.

Unlike western companies, Dmitriev added, RDIF will not require the inclusion of clauses on legal protection against possible negative consequences of the vaccine when working with India and other