Russian vaccine Sputnik V will be produced at the manufacturing units of Pune-based Serum Institute of India from September. The Russian RDIF (Russian Direct Investment Fund) said they “intend to produce over 300 million doses in India per year”. Technology transfer has already started and the first batch of vaccines is expected in September.
“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), the cultivation process has begun,” read a statement from RDIF.
“I am delighted to partner with RDIF to manufacture the Sputnik vaccine. We hope to make millions of doses in the coming months with trial batches starting in the month of September,” said Serum Institute chief Adar Poonawalla.
“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. 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 Russian Direct Investment Fund, said the 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”.
The announcement came as India is trying to ramp up its vaccination efforts. The target is to inoculate all the adult population by December.
Dr NK Arora, who heads the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration, has expressed confidence that the government will be able to meet its December target.
In August, the supply should be nearing 16 to 18 crore and from September, “we should be having 30 crore plus doses”, he had told NDTV in an exclusive interview last week.
But the vaccine shortage persists in pockets.
Delhi has to close down several off its vaccine centres as the supply of Covishield is running out, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said yesterday.
Only 36,310 vaccine doses could be administered in Delhi till 10 pm on Monday as opposed to the earlier average of 1.5 lakh doses administered a day.