The production of Sputnik V, the COVID-19 vaccine granted emergency use authorisation, has been launched in India, said a joint statement issued by Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and pharmaceutical firm Panacea Biotec on May 24.
The first batch of doses produced at Panacea Biotec’s facilities at Himachal Pradesh’s Baddi will be shipped to the Moscow-based Gamaleya Centre for “quality control”, the statement said.
Full-scale production of the vaccine is due to start this summer, it stated, adding that the company’s facilities “comply with GMP standards and are prequalified by the WHO (World Health Organisation)”.
Panacea Biotec’s Managing Director Dr Rajesh Jain said the launch of Sputnik V production is a significant step in India’s battle against the virus. “Together with RDIF, we hope to help bring a sense of normalcy back to people across the country and around the world,” he added.
RDIF’s chief executive officer Kirill Dmitriev said the domestic production of Sputnik V supports India’s efforts to “leave behind the acute phase of coronavirus as soon as possible”.
“The vaccine will also be exported at a later stage to help prevent the spread of the virus in other countries around the world,” he added.
Sputnik V was registered in India under the emergency use authorisation procedure on April 12, 2021. As announced in April, RDIF and Panacea have agreed to produce 100 million doses per year of Sputnik V.
The RDIF has also partnered with the Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy’s Laboratories for localised production and distribution of the vaccine.
To date, Sputnik V has been registered in 66 countries globally with a total population of over 3.2 billion people. The efficacy of Sputnik V is 97.6 percent based on the analysis of data on coronavirus infection rate among those in Russia vaccinated with both components of Sputnik V from December 5, 2020, to March 31, 2021.
The vaccine is based on a proven and well-studied platform of human adenoviral vectors and uses two different vectors for the two shots in a course of vaccination, “providing immunity with a longer duration than vaccines using the same delivery mechanism for both shots”, the statement said.
Sputnik V is the third COVID-19 vaccine that would be administered to the beneficiaries across India. The country has so far conducted its inoculation drive using Covishield and Covaxin, manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India and Hyderabad’s Bharat Biotech Limited, respectively.