Dr Reddy's Laboratories has said that the imported doses Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine have been priced at Rs 948 + 5 percent GST (Rs 995.40) per dose.
The pharmaceutical company also said a soft launch of the vaccine began in Hyderabad, with the first dose administered on May 14.
Dr Reddy's Laboratories said the price of the shot can be lowered when domestic production begins.
"The imported doses of the vaccine are presently priced at an MRP of Rs 948 + 5 percent GST per dose, with the possibility of a lower price point when local supply begins. The Company is working closely with its six manufacturing partners in India to fulfill regulatory requirements to ensure smooth and timely supply," Dr Reddy's Laboratories said in a BSE filing.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
The company said that more consignments of imported doses are expected over the coming months. The first consignment of imported doses arrived on May 1, and received regulatory clearance from the Central Drugs Laboratory, Kasauli, on May 13.
"The Company is working closely with its six manufacturing partners in India to fulfill regulatory requirements to ensure smooth and timely supply," Dr Reddy's Laboratories said in the filing.
The vaccine was granted Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) in India in April, but the roll-out had not yet begun.
Data from Phase 3 clinical trials has shown that Sputnik V has an efficacy of 91.6 percent. The jab was developed by Russia's Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology.
Dr VK Paul, chairman of the National Expert Committee on Vaccine Administration, said on May 13 that Sputnik V is likely to be available in the market from next week.While India's vaccination drive has been expanded to include individuals in the 18-44 age group, there is a shortage of doses. The country is continuing to register more than 3 lakh new COVID-19 cases and around 4,000 deaths a day during the second wave of infections.