New Delhi, (Asian independent) The Union Health Ministry on Thursday announced that Russia’s Sputnik V, the vaccine against the Covid-19 pandemic, will be available in markets across the country early next week.
The announcement comes 12 days after the first consignment of 150,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine landed in Hyderabad from Russia.
Sputnik V is developed by Russia’s Gamaleya National Center. It will be the third vaccine to be cleared for use in India at a time when the country is in the grip of an intense second wave and demand for vaccines has shot up.
Dr V.K. Paul, member NITI Aayog, made the announcement at a Health Ministry press briefing on the Covid-19 situation in the country.
Paul also said that the local production of Sputnik V will begin in July and Hyderabad-based Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories will manufacture the vaccine in India.
Dr Reddy’s top executives recently hinted that Sputnik V is likely to be sold at $10 (around Rs 750) a dose in India.
Last month, the Indian regulator Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) granted restricted use authorisation to Sputnik V amid an alarming rise in the country’s fresh Covid-19 infections.
Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) is manufacturing the Oxford University-AstraZeneca shot as Covishield while Bharat Biotech International Limited, located in Hyderabad, has developed Covaxin.
With an efficacy of 91.6 per cent, Sputnik V is reportedly the first vaccine against Covid-19 in the world. On August 11 last year, Russia gave approval to the Sputnik V. It is reported in the Lancet Medical Journal that the vaccine has been cleared and approved for mass use in more than 50 countries.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has signed a deal to produce 750 million doses of Sputnik V in India.
Dr Reddy has entered into an agreement with RDIF for import of 125 million people equivalent doses in India. The firm’s plan is to ramp up manufacture of the vaccine in India after the initial imports.
India’s vaccination drive against Covid-19 began on January 16, two weeks after the DCGI announced clearance for both Covishield and Covaxin.
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