India signs deal for 100m doses of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine
Russia has signed a deal with an Indian pharma firm to test and deliver 100 million doses of its controversial Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19 to the nation’s citizens as it sees its death toll surge to overtake Brazil as the second-worst hit country on Earth after the US.
Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, signed the agreement with Indian firm Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, which will collaborate with Russia to test the vaccine in clinical trials and eventually help distribute it in India.
Russia attracted criticism when it announced on 11 August that it had approved the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine – based only on data from a Phase 1/2 study of just 38 participants.
RDIF Chief Executive Officer Kirill Dmitriev stood by the candidate and its ability to help India get a handle on the pandemic: “India is among the most severely impacted countries from COVID-19 and we believe our human adenovirus dual vector platform will provide a safe and scientifically validated option to India in the battle against it,”
The candidate will need to pass regulatory hurdles in India off the back of confirmatory trials conducted by Dr Reddy’s, but on approval will be made available with late 2020 given as a possible date for the deliveries to begin.
“The Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials have shown promising results,” said G V Prasad, Co-Chairman and Managing Director of Dr Reddy’s. “We will be conducting phase three trials in India to ensure safety and efficacy for the Indian population.”
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