Health Desk – 05 June, 2021: The Serum Institute of India (SII) has sought regulatory approval to make Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, two sources said on Thursday, joining a clutch of drugmakers in the country that are already expected to make around 1 billion doses annually.
SII, the world’s biggest vaccine producer, is already making the AstraZeneca PLC (AZN.L) and Novavax vaccines in India.The company has now sought preliminaryapproval from the federal drug regulator for making Sputnik V, declining to be identified as details of the application have not been made public.
Sputnik V is a two-dose shot which has been found to be 91.6% effective in preventing people from developing COVID-19, a higher efficacy rate than the two vaccines currently approved in India.
The company has signed a deal with Russian Direct Investment Fund for 250 million doses, of which the initial 15%-20% is expected through imports, it said last month.
After a devastating second wave of infections that killed tens of thousands in April-May, the Indian government is under fire toramp up inoculations of its vast adult population to curb infections.
India had given emergency authorisation to Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine in mid-April, as vaccinations slowed and infections surged.
The Indian government is also in talks with Dr. Reddy’s to bring the single-dose Sputnik Light COVID-19 vaccine, a spokesperson for the company told Reuters on Monday.