India received the first consignment of Sputnik V vaccines from Russia on Saturday afternoon, with the lot being delivered to Dr Reddy’s Laboratories in Hyderabad. According to a statement by Dr Reddy's, this lot contains 1,50,000 doses. Reports state that another 3 million doses could be expected by May end.
“First batch of #SputnikV vaccine arrives in Hyderabad, India! That's the same day the country starts mass COVID vaccination drive covering its entire adult population. Let's jointly defeat this pandemic. Together we are stronger,” Sputnik’s official Twitter handle said.
"The rollout of the consignment will be subject to the necessary clearances, which will be processed over the next few days. This initial quantity will be used across different channels as a pilot to line up our supply chain for the larger vaccination program rollout. Subsequent consignments will arrive in the next few weeks," Dr Reddy's said in a statement.
After Covishield and Covaxin, Sputnik V, developed by Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, is the third COVID-19 vaccine to get emergency use approval in India.
In September 2020, Dr Reddy's and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) entered into a partnership to conduct clinical trials of Sputnik V and the rights for distribution of the first 100 million doses in India. Later, it was enhanced to 125 million.
According to the guidelines, the vaccine is indicated for active immunisation to prevent COVID-19 in individuals over 18 years of age and it needs to be stored at a temperature of minus 18-degree Celsius in liquid form. However, it can be stored at 2-8-degree Celsius in its freeze-dried form in a conventional refrigerator, making it easier to transport and store.
In a recent study, published in the journal The Lancet, the efficacy of Sputnik V was determined to be 91.6%. The vaccine should be administered in two doses of 0.5 ml each with an interval of 21 days.
RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev in a virtual press conference recently said he expected over 50 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine to be manufactured in India by this summer. RDIF has tied up with five drug companies apart from Dr Reddy’s — Virchow Biotech, Gland Pharma, Panacea Biotec, Stelis Biopharma and Hetero Biopharma — to produce doses of the vaccine in India.
Vaccination for all those between the ages of 18 and 45 was allowed from May 1 onwards. However, state governments, which have to purchase the vaccines from the open market, did not receive stocks. Hospital chains Apollo, Max Healthcare and Fortis had limited stocks with which they rolled out the vaccination drive.
With inputs from agencies