India is the world’s biggest vaccine maker and its pharmaceutical industry is freeing up capacity and accelerating investments ahead of the global rush for COVID-19 shots.
India will produce about 300 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines next year, a Russian official was quoted as saying.
According to Reuters, this new number is nearly three times the previously known quantity as deals have been signed with more manufacturers.
Russia is already testing the first samples of Sputnik V that were produced in India, its embassy in New Delhi said on Twitter on Friday.
India will produce about 300 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in 2021, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) Kirill Dmitriev said in an interview with a TV channel.
“In India, we have agreements with four large manufacturers. …India will produce about 300 million doses or more of the vaccine for us next year,” he was quoted as saying to Rossiya 24 TV channel by TASS news agency on Thursday.
RDIF is Russia’s sovereign wealth fund. Registered by Russia on August 11, Sputnik V became the world’s first coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine was developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology. Its post-registration trials began in Moscow on September 7, with volunteers receiving the first vaccine on September 9.
Dmitriev noted that out of 110 production sites that negotiated production of Sputnik V, RDIF chose 10 that meet its requirements.
“The Russian Sputnik V will be actively produced in the world and we see that this is built on a safe platform based on the human adenovirus,” Dmitriev said.
Earlier Dmitriev said that production of Sputnik V began in other countries, in particular in India, Korea, Brazil, and China.
India’s Hetero Biopharma has already announced a deal with the RDIF to make more than 100 million doses of Sputnik V, whose efficacy has been found to be more than 91% in trials done outside India.
Indian officials have said they may approve some vaccines for emergency use authorisation in the coming weeks. So far only three vaccines from Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech and Indian company Bharat Biotech have applied for urgent approval.
India is the world’s second-worst affected country after the United States, which has recorded 16.9 million cases. It reported 22,890 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, taking its total to above 10 million. The death toll stands at 144,789.