Dr Reddy's Laboratories, which has received approval from the Indian drug regulator for restricted emergency use of COVID-19 vaccineSputnik V, on Tuesday said it expects the first lot of stock from Russian Direct Investment Fund by May-end.
In September 2020, Dr Reddys and RDIF entered into a partnership to conduct clinical trials of SputnikV, developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology and the rights for distribution of the first 100 million doses in India. Later, it was enhanced to 125 million.
"We are targeting to have the first batches imported by Q1, and are trying our best to have them by end-May," Dr Reddy's spokesperson told PTI in an email reply.
RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev in a virtual press conference recently said he expected over 50 million doses of sputnik vaccine to be manufactured in India by this summer. He had said RDIF has tied up with five drug companies for the vaccine and is looking at a couple of more firms for the possible production pacts. Once available, SputnikV will be the third vaccine to be used in India against coronavirus.
In January, DCGI had given the emergency use authorisation for two COVID-19 vaccines -- Covaxin of Bharat Biotech and Covishield of Oxford-AstraZeneca manufactured by Serum Institute of India in Pune. "We expect Domestic Manufacturing to ramp up from Q2. We are not able to confirm on the first lot size at this time," Dr Reddy's official further said.
A senior official of Dr Reddy's said the vaccine will be imported in a frozen condition from RDIF maintaining -18 to -22 degree celsius.
The government last week exempted basic customs duty on import of COVID vaccine, medical-grade oxygen and related equipment to boost domestic availability and make them cheaper amid rising infections across the country. The government had levied 10% customs or import duty on vaccines coming from overseas.
The exemption from import duty would help keep low the cost of overseas vaccines that are being eyed to supplement domestically made shots ahead of opening COVID-19 vaccination to all citizens over 18 years of age. The government earlier this month allowed the emergency use of imported vaccines to curb the spread of coronavirus infections.