By Express News Service
NEW DELHI: The first batch of the Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V arrived in Hyderabad on Friday, the day the country started a symbolic rollout of vaccination against coronavirus for the 18-45 year age group amid acute vaccine shortage.
The first lot of Sputnik V contains 1.5 lakh doses of the vaccine which works on the principle of delivering a weakened part of SARS CoV 2 using an adenovirus vector that triggers an immune response in the body. The vaccine has shown the efficacy of over 90 % against infection.
The vaccine is first set to be tested at the Central Drugs Laboratory of the Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation at Kasauli but it is not yet clear whether the vaccine will be given to states or will be available at private hospitals for paid vaccination.
The Centre however had earlier hinted that foreign vaccines are likely to be available only through 50 % state quota, under which states or private hospitals will directly procure these vaccines.
The international price of Sputnik V is USD 10 or about Rs 750 per dose.
“We are pleased to announce that the first consignment of 1,50,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine has landed in Hyderabad from Russia,” said Deepak Sapra, CEO, API, and Services at Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories.
The company, which has received approval from the CDSCO for the restricted emergency use of Sputnik V, has entered into a partnership with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to conduct clinical trials of the vaccine.
It has bagged the rights for distribution of the first 100 million doses in India, which was later enhanced to 125 million.
“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,” said Sapra.
He also added that the subsequent consignments will arrive in the next few weeks.
In a statement issued after the vaccine’s arrival in India, the Russian embassy meanwhile said that its local production is about to start soon and is planned to be gradually increased up to 850 million doses per year.