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COVID-19 | 50 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine to be available every month by summer: RDIF

CEO of RDIF Kirill Dmitriev has said the fund is in discussion with companies in India to manufacture the Sputnik V vaccine.

April 13, 2021 / 08:23 PM IST
Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19

Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19

The Russian Sovereign Fund RDIF on April 13 said its Indian partners will be producing 50 million doses of Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine per month from summer.

Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the RDIF, said they are in discussion with a few more companies in India to manufacture the Sputnik V vaccine.

Dmitriev said RDIF, in addition to collaboration and technology transfer, will also finance working capital and other requirements for its contract manufacturers to expand capacity.

"We do obviously finance some of the working captial so that they can ramp up production very quickly," Dmitriev said at a virtual press conference.

He said some of the partners have begun production of the vaccine.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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"The quality controls are done in Russia, we ensure that there are very stringent quality controls of Sputnik manufactured by different producers. I think the real ramp-up of production capacity will take 2-3 months," Dmitriev added.

India is the leading production hub for Sputnik V. RDIF has reached agreements with leading pharmaceutical companies in the country such as Gland Pharma, Hetero Biopharma, Panacea Biotec, Stelis Biopharma and Virchow Biotech to produce more than 850 million doses per year, sufficient to vaccinate more than 425 million people around the world.

"We believe that Russia and India would be the largest production hubs for Sputnik V vaccine in the world, followed by South Korea and China," Dmitriev said.

The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), on April 13, approved the Sputnik V vaccine for emergency use, making it the third COVID-19 vaccine to be registered in India.

Dr Reddy's, which has collaborated with RDIF, conducted the bridge trial for Sputnik V and has applied for emergency use in India.

The Russian vaccine has been approved for use in 59 countries so far.

Sputnik V is one of the only three coronavirus vaccines registered by India’s regulatory authorities.

The rollout of Sputnik V will begin by end of April or early May, RDIF said. It will initially be imported before the local production kicks in.

India is currently using Serum Institute of India's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin. The emergency approval of Sputnik V will help government efforts to scale up vaccination, as it struggles to contain the second wave of the pandemic. So far, India has given 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, but there were reports from many districts about shortages.
Viswanath Pilla is a business journalist with 14 years of reporting experience. Based in Mumbai, Pilla covers pharma, healthcare and infrastructure sectors for Moneycontrol.
first published: Apr 13, 2021 08:17 pm

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