India gears up to test Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine; 30 crore doses to be made locally once approved
Russia is in close contact with Indian ministries as well as vaccine manufactures to produce the vaccine for India and other countries.
On Monday, India overtook Brazil to become the second country in the world with the highest number of COVID-19 cases. It also recorded more cases over the weekend than Brazil and US combined, accounting for 40 percent of all the COVID-19 cases reported over the weekend from around the world. The coronavirus cases tally in India so far till date is at around 4.2 million cases, with new cases still being recorded in large numbers throughout the country.
The search for an effective and safe COVID-19 vaccine is heating up globally. India currently has several potential vaccine candidates in various stages of preclinical and human trials all over the country. Among these vaccine candidates is the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V, for which Phase 3 trials will soon commence in various countries including India.
In a Sputnik News report, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) Kirill Dmitriev stated, "Clinical trials in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Philippines, India and Brazil will begin [in September]."
Russia has been in a close dialogue with the Indian government and leading drug manufactures in India, including Serum Institute, about localized production of its Sputnik V vaccine in India. RDIF chief Dmitriev told ANI in an interview that Russia and India are already in talks about production of the Sputnik V vaccine to meet demand for the vaccine in India as well as in other countries.
"We do recognize India's potential to become a support for the production of the vaccine not only in Indian markets but for other countries too, and we have achieved certain agreements with the leading companies," he informed.
"As far as Sputnik V vaccine is concerned, both India and Russia are in communication," Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said at a press conference held in late August. "Some initial information has been shared while some detailed information is awaited."
Another health ministry official was quoted by The Print as saying, "the Russian government is keen to collaborate with India on the vaccine....our embassy in Moscow is also trying to get the data and are in touch with the Gamaleya institute."
Some sources have confirmed that Russia has shared 'formally modalities of cooperation with India on the vaccine and that the Indian government was examining the details' and more talks will continue when foreign minister S Jaishankar visits Moscow this week, according to a Times of India report.
Dmitriev told CNBT TV18 that if all goes well, Russia could start delivering COVID-19 vaccine from November this year, with some 30 crore doses produced in India.
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