Russia to sell COVID-19 vaccines to India
On September 16, 2020, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund agreed to supply 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik-V to an Indian drug company Dr Reddy’s Laboratories. The deal has been finalized after the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) reached agreements with the Indian manufacturer to produce 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to India.
What is the plan?
The RDIF will cooperate with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories on clinical trials and distribution of Sputnik-V vaccine in India. Sputnik-V vaccine was the first registered vaccine against COVID-19 in the world. It has been developed based on human adenoviral vectors platform.
Several experts all over the world had raised doubts over Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine due to lack of transparency regarding trial data.
Russian Direct Investment Fund
The Russian Direct Investment Fund was established in 2011 by the Russian Government. It makes investment in leading companies of high-growth sector of Russian economy. It acts as a catalyst to direct investment in Russia.
COVID-19 vaccines in India
On September 15, 2020, the Serum Institute of India received a go-ahead from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to resume clinical trials of Oxford COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccine has been developed by AstraZeneca along with the researchers of Oxford University.
AstraZeneca recently halted the clinical trials that were conducted in four countries such as Brazil, South Africa, UK, and USA. This was mainly due to “potentially unexplained” illness and also due to side effects.
ZyCOV-D is another COVID-19 vaccine whose clinical trials are ongoing in India. This vaccine was developed under Vaccine Discovery programme. The programme is supported by Department of Biotechnology under the National Biopharma Mission.
National Biopharma Mission
The mission was launched in 2017 at a cost of Rs 1500 crores. It is co-funded by World Bank. The mission is being implemented by BIRAC. BIRAC is Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council operating under Department of Biotechnology.
The GoI launched i3 programme under the mission. The mission develops medical devices, vaccines, biotherapeutics.