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Russia has named the covid vaccine Sputnik V
Russia has named the covid vaccine Sputnik V

India to start trials for Russia's Covid vaccine in next few weeks: Dr Reddy's

  • Dr Reddy's will conduct Phase III studies of Sputnik V vaccine in the country
  • The firm will enrol 1,000-2,000 participants and trials will be conducted at multiple government and private hospitals across the country, an executive says

Amid the race to develop a potential vaccine against novel coronavirus in India, Reddy's Laboratories Ltd, which has recently been roped in for Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing, said that it could begin late-stage clinical trials of Russia's potential coronavirus vaccine in the next few weeks, an executive said.

"Indian trials of the Sputnik-V vaccine candidate, being developed by Russia's sovereign wealth fund, will enroll 1,000-2,000 participants and be conducted at multiple government and private hospitals across the country," Deepak Sapra, CEO for API and pharmaceutical services at Dr. Reddy's, told Reuters.

"We want to get to the first step - which is the commencement of the clinical trials by getting the necessary approvals from the Indian regulators - within the next few weeks," Sapra said to Reuters.

The trials are part of a deal between the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Dr Reddy's, in which the Indian firm will conduct Phase III studies in the country.

Sputnik-V doses supplied in India will likely be a combination of Indian- and Russian-made doses, Sapra said, adding that RDIF and Dr Reddy's would soon identify potential manufacturers in India.

The RDIF has said vaccine deliveries to India could begin in late 2020, but Sapra suggested it could take longer. "I think it's going to be several months before we accomplish all the steps in the process," he added.

Earlier, RDIF confirmed reaching an agreement to supply 100 million doses of Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V to India's Dr. Reddy's Laboratories.

"The RDIF, Russia's sovereign wealth fund, and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd. (Dr. Reddy's), a global pharmaceutical company headquartered out of India, have agreed to cooperate on clinical trials and distribution of Sputnik V vaccine in India. Upon regulatory approval in India, RDIF shall supply to Dr. Reddy's 100 million doses of the vaccine," Sputnik quoted the RDIF's press release.

Deliveries could start in late 2020, the release added.

The RDIF is pleased to reach the agreement with the Indian company, the RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev said.

"Dr. Reddy's has had a very well established and respected presence in Russia for over 25 years and is one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in India," he said

"India is amongst most severely impacted countries from the novel coronavirus and we believe our human adenovirus dual vector platform will provide a safe and scientifically validated option to India in the battle against COVID 19. RDIF partners will receive an effective and safe drug to fight the coronavirus," he added.

Last week, the Russian Health Ministry announced that the first batch of Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 has been released into civil circulation.

Sputnik V, a vaccine against coronavirus, has been developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology and RDIF.

With inputs from agencies

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