Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], May 17 (ANI): Dr Reddy's labs collaborated with Apollo hospitals and launched a pilot programme for administering the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V vaccine on Monday.
Speaking to ANI, Deepak Sapra, CEO, Pharmaceutical Services and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API), Dr Reddy's labs, said that the pilot programme is for the soft launch of Sputnik V vaccine in the country.
He said that this is to check the cold chain supply of Sputnik V and other logistical needs for the same.
Stating that the vaccine is available at Rs 995 including GST as the vaccine is being imported from Russia, he said the cost will come down if the production starts in India, adding that production of Sputnik V will most probably start in the next two months.
"Today, we are starting this programme here at Apollo. We are running a pilot programme with a few people. By doing so we will be able to establish the integrity of the supply chain, we will be able to see how the cold chain and logistics work. By doing this we will be able to ensure that there is enough learning so that we can scale it up across the country," he added.
The second batch of the Sputnik V landed in Hyderabad on Sunday.
As the vaccine landed here, Russian Ambassador to India, Nikolay Kudashev termed the Russian-Indian fight against COVID-19, as an example of the special and privileged strategic partnership and an effective model of international anti-pandemic cooperation.
"We are very happy to see that the Russian-Indian joint fight against the COVID-19, which is one of the vital areas of our bilateral cooperation nowadays, has firmly stood on rails and moving forward," the Russian envoy told ANI.
Sputnik V has become the first foreign-made vaccine to be used in India contributing to the world's largest COVID-19 vaccination campaign. Inoculations with Sputnik V in Hyderabad started Friday followed by the arrival of the first batch of the vaccine in India on May 1, 2021.
Ambassador Kudashev had said that life-saving humanitarian assistance delivered last month by the Russian side is being successfully used to help Indians to overcome the consequences of the disease.
Kudashev called the delivery of the second batch of Sputnik V vaccine "very timely" after the recent launch of the Russian vaccine in the Indian vaccination campaign.
"The efficacy of Sputnik V is well-known in the world. Back in Russia, it is being successfully used to vaccinate citizens starting since the second half of 2020. Russian specialists declared that it is also effective against the new strains of COVID-19," he said.
On the issue of production capacity, the Russian envoy added, "We expect that its production in India will be gradually increased to 850 million doses per year. Looking forward to further expanding our bilateral and multilateral cooperation with India to stop the pandemic."He also revealed that there are plans to introduce a single-dose vaccine soon in India named Sputnik Lite.
Sputnik V was approved for use in India on April 12, 2021 and granted emergency use authorisation. India is the leading production hub for Sputnik V. (ANI)