The first batch of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine arrived in India on Saturday (May 01, 2021), a TASS correspondent reported.
The vaccine was delivered to the airport of Hyderabad, the capital of the Indian state of Telangana, by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which oversees the project.
Sputnik V was the third vaccine, which will be used in India. So far, only two drugs were used for immunization: Covishield, developed by the British-Swedish company AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, and also Covaxin of India’s firm Bharat Biotech.
In February, Indian pharmaceutical company Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories applied for permission to use Sputnik V in India. The bid was approved in April. The company is ready to distribute the Russian vaccine. RDIF has also reached an agreement on manufacturing the vaccine with several Indian pharmaceutical companies. The vaccine earlier passed interim trials in India, which involved 1,600 volunteers.
India's Ambassador to Russia Bala Venkatesh Varma said earlier this week that New Delhi expected to get some 150,000-200,000 Sputnik V doses by early May, some 3 mln doses by the end of the month and 5 mln doses by June.
The Russian vaccine arrived in India on the day when the new stage of a national vaccination campaign is set to kick off among all citizens over 18 years of age. Until May 1 only Indian citizens above 45 were able to get the jab. However, the authorities in some states announced that the vaccination among citizens of between 18 and 44 years of age would begin as soon as there was the sufficient volume of drugs.
Russia was the first in the world to register coronavirus vaccine on August 11, 2020, called Sputnik V. The drug was developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology. The drug has been registered in many countries. Sputnik V is a vector vaccine based on the human adenovirus.