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Dr Reddy’s Laboratories will start supplying Sputnik V vaccines imported from Russia in May and tap locally sourced jabs as their production ramps up in India, two people aware of the development said.

However, pricing of the vaccine as well as how many doses will be supplied initially have not yet been decided. Negotiations between the government and the Hyderabad-based drugmaker, which is the sole licensing partner for the vaccine in India, are on.

“The supply will start from May via the imported route, and ramp-up of made-in-India product will happen over time," one of the people cited above said.

Dr Reddy’s is in a pact with Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the global commercializing partner for the vaccine, to conduct phase 2 and 3 trials and supply up to 250 million doses in the country.

RDIF is also in partnership with five other Indian companies—Hetero Biopharma, Gland Pharma, Virchow Biotech, Stelis Biopharma and Panacea Biotec—for manufacturing a total of more than 850 million doses for India as well as exports.

RDIF chief executive officer Kirill Dmitriev on Tuesday said some of these companies have already started producing the jabs and have passed quality checks for supply to Russia. But he did not answer a question on whether these will also be used in supplies to India.

“Some of them are already producing Sputnik right now, but ramping up to the highest capacity, I think, will take two to three months," Dmitriev said, adding Indian firms will start producing around 50 million doses per month from “summer".

The Russian sovereign fund will soon sign pacts with more companies in India for fill-finish of the vaccine, he said. “We will announce some partnerships in that regard in the next two weeks," Dmitriev said.

Drugs Controller General of India V.G. Somani on Tuesday gave emergency authorization to the vaccine, based on results of clinical trials in Russia, the interim analysis of which showed an efficacy of 91.6%.

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