Russia to sell 100 million Covid-19 vaccine as cases in India passed 5 million.
Russia's sovereign wealth fund has agreed to supply 100 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik-V, to Indian drug company Dr Reddy's Laboratories, the fund said on Wednesday, as Moscow speeds up plans to distribute its shot abroad.
The deal comes after the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) reached agreements with Indian manufacturers to produce 300 million doses of the vaccine in India, which is a major consumer of Russian oil and arms.
Dr Reddy's, one of India's top pharmaceutical companies, will carry out Phase III clinical trials of the vaccine in India, pending regulatory approval, RDIF said in a statement.
"Sputnik V vaccine could provide a credible option in our fight against Covid-19 in India," he said.
There was no detail about the price of the vaccine but RDIF has said previously it was not aiming at making a profit, just covering costs.
The agreement comes as the number of coronavirus infections in India crossed the 5 million mark with 91,136 new cases reported on Tuesday. Infections continued to rise at an alarming rate in the nation with the worst-ever recorded case rate.
India now accounts for nearly one-sixth of all Covid-19 cases recorded worldwide since the outbreak originated in China nine months ago.
India’s tally of total cases stands at 5,017,914, behind only the United States, which at 6.76 million confirmed infections, is the worst-hit nation in the world. Also, 1,284 new deaths were reported on Tuesday, taking the nationwide death toll to 82,091. A total of 3,937,066 people who have been infected have so far recovered, according to HT’s dashboard.
The RDIF has already reached vaccine supply deals with Kazakhstan, Brazil and Mexico. It has also signed a memorandum with the Saudi Chemical company.
Russia has billed Sputnik-V as the first vaccine against the coronavirus to be registered in the world. Phase III trials, involving at least 40,000 people, were launched in Russia on Aug. 26 but have yet to be completed.