Indian group to make 200 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V

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The backer of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine said Monday it had signed an agreement with an India-based pharmaceuticals giant for the production of up to 200 million doses of the jab a year.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the country’s sovereign wealth fund, said in a statement it has partnered with the Virchow Group to produce up to 200 million doses of the two-dose vaccine in India every year.

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Virchow Biotech, a subsidiary of the Virchow Group, is expected to start full-scale commercial production in the first half of 2021, it said.

RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev said the agreement was “an important step to facilitate the full-scale local production” of Sputnik V in India and to supply partners around the world.

Last week, the RDIF announced a production agreement for at least 200 million doses of Sputnik with another Indian drugmaker -- Stelis Biopharma.

According to RDIF, Russia’s vaccine, which is named after the Soviet-era satellite, has been registered in 54 countries.

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Moscow registered the vaccine in August before large-scale clinical trials, but leading medical journal The Lancet has since said it is safe and over 90 percent effective.

Some Western countries have been wary of Sputnik over concerns the Kremlin is using it as a soft power tool to advance its interests.

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