Dr Reddy's says 8-9 states have approached for Sputnik V vaccine procurement; announces tie-up with Apollo Hospitals

Dr Reddy's will use the Apollo Hospitals network nationally for storing, administering and monitoring the vaccination. The initial rollout will begin in Hyderabad on May 17 and will be extended to Visakhapatnam and other metro cities starting May 18.

May 17, 2021 / 02:14 PM IST
India approved the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use on April 13. (Representative image: Sputnik V)

India approved the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use on April 13. (Representative image: Sputnik V)

 
 
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Dr Reddy's on May 17 said 8-9 states have approached the company for procurement of Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine. The company named Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, among the states that have reached out to them.

Dr Reddy's had announced that the imported doses of Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine have been priced at Rs 948 plus 5 percent GST or Rs 995.40 per dose. It said the price of the imported Sputnik V vaccine would remain the same for the government and private channels.

The company would be working with hospitals in metros that can handle -18 degrees Centigrade storage for the vaccines.

Dr Reddy's has received 1.5 lakh doses of Sputnik first dose last week, the company said it has received the second consignment of 60,000 doses second dose during the weekend.

"We have a supply commitment of 36 million doses from RDIF in the next two months," said M V Ramana, CEO of Branded Formulations at Dr Reddy's.

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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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Ramana said Dr Reddy's is trying to secure more doses from RDIF. The company has a commitment from RDIF to get 250 million doses of Sputnik V first and second dose. About 15-20 percent of the initial supplies will be imported from Russia.

Dr Reddy's said once the local manufactures begin supplying, which is expected in the next two to three months, the vaccine prices will come down.

"They have to absorb the technology from RDIF, have to get approvals from the regulators and then scale up manufacturing,"  said Sauri Gudlavalleti - Head Of Research And Development.

"We are working with the regulator to bring appropriate guidance, on whether the other Indian suppliers with whom RDIF signed supply agreement will have to do clinical trials or not," Gudlavalleti added.

Hetero that has a tie-up with RDIF has got permission from DCGI to conduct Phase-3 trials of Sputnik V vaccine.

Gudlavalleti said the company intends to reach out to the Indian drug regulator in the next few weeks seeking emergency use authorisation of Sputnik Light single-dose vaccine.

Apollo Hospitals tie-up

Dr Reddy's on Monday announced a partnership with Apollo Hospitals to do the trial rollout of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine in India.

Dr Reddy's will use the services of the Apollo Hospitals network nationally in storage, transportation, administering and monitoring of people who get vaccinated.

Apollo Hospitals will be pricing the Sputnik V vaccine at Rs 1,200- Rs 1,250 per dose.

Dr Reddy's said the initial rollout will begin in Hyderabad on May 17 and will be extended to Visakhapatnam and other metro cities starting May 18.

In addition to Apollo, Dr Reddy's also tied up with Continental Hospitals owned by IHH Healthcare.
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: May 17, 2021 01:47 pm

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