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Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine launch expected by early June, to be priced at $10, says Dr Reddy's

The Indian drug regulator had approved the Russian-made Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use earlier this month. Dr Reddy's will import and sell the jab in India.

April 20, 2021 / 11:26 AM IST
Representative image: Sputnik V

Representative image: Sputnik V

Dr Reddy's Laboratories is expecting to rollout the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine by May-end or early June, the company's co-chairman and MD, GV Prasad, said on April 20. The Indian drug regulator had approved the Russian-made vaccine for emergency use earlier this month.

Dr Reddy's has tied up with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to import and sell the jab in India.

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"We are doing our best to accelerate the import. We hope to get products launched in this quarter itself. We have worked out the cold chain and logistics are in place. We are talking to RDIF to accelerate the shipments here," GV Prasad told CNBC TV-18.

He also welcomed the government's decision to open the COVID-19 vaccination drive for everyone above the age of 18.

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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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Read | COVID-19 vaccine for all adults from May 1: All your key questions answered

"This was needed for the country. I applaud the government for the move. There will be a rise in availability and more private organisations will set up vaccination centres," Prasad said.

Prasad further said that the launch of Sputnik V vaccine doses made in India is likely to happen in the second quarter. "Each manufacturer is in a different stage of the process. But we hope that in Q2 itself we will have Indian-manufactured vaccine available at least from one or two players. So Q2 should see the launch of the Indian made Sputnik V vaccine," Prasad added.

Read | Sputnik V: All your key questions answered

Prasad said that the vaccine pricing would be uniform across the globe. "The Russian organisation has a uniform price of $10 across the world. So when it comes in, it will not be priced less than that."

Sputnik V has been developed by the Russian state-backed Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology. The vaccine needs to be stored at 2-8 degrees Celsius. It has a proven efficacy rate of 91.5 percent, which is the highest after Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s candidates.

Click here for Moneycontrol's full coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic
Moneycontrol News
first published: Apr 20, 2021 11:26 am

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