Sputnik vaccine in final leg of pilot testing, commercial launch soon: Dr Reddy’s
Russian made Sputnik V vaccine against the Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is in its final leg of pilot testing in the country, the vaccine’s distributor in India, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL), announced on Wednesday to update on launch arrangements in the country.
“The limited pilot soft launch of the Sputnik V vaccine in India that was initiated by Dr Reddy’s in Hyderabad on May 14…is currently in its final leg as we gear up to ensure a smooth commercial launch,” said Dr Reddy’s Labs in a statement.
Sputnik V vaccine is developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute with assistance from the Russian sovereign wealth fund (RDIF) that is also marketing it globally.
The vaccine is a two-dose shot (but two unidentical doses unlike other two-dose vaccines) that is 91.6% effective in preventing serious illness.
As part of the soft launch, the vaccine has been administered in nine cities so far, and is likely to be expanded to other cities. The cities where the vaccine is being currently administered are Visakhapatnam, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Baddi, Chennai, Miryalaguda, and Kolhapur.
The slots for Sputnik V vaccination, however, are not available on the central government’s digital vaccine delivery platform, CoWin, at the moment.
“Being a limited pilot phase presently, registration on CoWin is not open yet to members of the public. This will become open at the time of our commercial launch,” the company said.
“This pilot phase has allowed us to test our cold storage arrangements of -18 degree Celsius temperature in these cities, CoWin integration, track and trace and other logistical arrangements ahead of our commercial launch,” it added in its statement.
The company currently is making arrangements for deploying adequate cold chain units, with the last mile cold chain arrangement being validated at every hospital that the company has partnered with to administered the shots. The arrangements are being made for seamless storage and handling of the vaccine.
“All necessary supply arrangements are being executed to ensure availability of both dose components in the right quantity, and at the right time, at partner hospitals. Once the plot phase is completed, Dr Reddy’s will announce the commercial launch of Sputnik V,” said the company.
Dr Reddy’s entered a partnership with RDIF for distribution of first 250 million vaccine doses. The company also locally tested the vaccine on 1,600 people in a phase 2/3 trial meant as a “bridging study”.
Sputnik V is the third vaccine to be given Emergency Use Authorisation in India after Covishield, Serum Institute of India’s local version of the Oxford University -AstraZeneca vaccine and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.