Sputnik V Covid vaccine: India's Morepen Labs makes first test batch
India’s pharma major Morepen Laboratories has begun manufacturing test batches of the Russian-made anti coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V in India as part of efforts to enhance its production capacity in the country, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
Morepen and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russia’s sovereign wealth fund that is marketing Sputnik V globally, announced the production of the test batch of the vaccine in an exclusive facility in the state of Himachal Pradesh.
“The first batch will be shipped to the Gamaleya Center for quality control. RDIF and Morepen Laboratories signed a cooperation agreement in June 2021 and are actively implementing the technology transfer,” said Morepen Laboratories in a statement issued on Tuesday.
Sputnik V was the third vaccine to be granted an emergency use authorization in India on April 12, 2021 after indigenously developed Covaxin and Covishield. US based pharma company Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine is the fourth vaccine that has been granted restricted emergency use permission in India.
India is the leading production hub for Sputnik V with RDIF having signed agreements with other Indian pharmaceutical companies such as Gland Pharma, Hetero Biopharma, Panacea Biotec, Stelis Biopharma and Virchow Biotech for the production of the Covid-19 vaccine locally.
In total, agreements with partners in India provide for production of more than 850 million doses of Sputnik V per year.
“As the pandemic is yet far from over and new, more dangerous variants of coronavirus are being detected in various regions of the world, RDIF is increasing capacities for production of Sputnik V in India, one of the key hubs. Agreement with Morepen Laboratories provides for a larger amount of Sputnik V to be available both for India and our partners globally to speed up the vaccination with one of the best vaccines in the world,” said Kirill Dmitriev, ceo, RDIF, in a statement.
To date, Sputnik V has been registered in 67 countries accounting for over 3.5 billion people. The data obtained by a number of regulators including in Argentina, Serbia, Bahrain, Hungary and Mexico demonstrates that Sputnik V is one of the safest and most effective vaccines against coronavirus.
Sputnik V is based on the human adenoviral vectors platform, and uses two different vectors for the two shots in course of vaccination, and claims to provide immunity for longer duration than the vaccines using the same delivery mechanism for both shots.
“We are delighted to partner with RDIF for the prestigious project of Sputnik V production in India. This would be our privilege to work jointly on expanding the production base in India. We take this partnership as [a] starting point for a long term relationship with RDIF and its partner companies as we look forward to many more areas of common interest. Morepen’s commitment towards this project is [a] step forward towards entry into biosimilars and other biologics,” said Sushil Suri, chairman and managing director, Morepen Laboratories Limited.