"The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund), and Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, today announced cooperation to produce the Russian Sputnik vaccine against coronavirus," the statement read, adding that the first batch of the Russian vaccine " is expected to be produced at SII’s facilities in September".
The sides plan to produce more than 300 million doses of Sputnik Vaccine in India per year.
SII has already received "cell and vector samples" of the vaccine from its developer, the Gamaleya Research Center, the importation of which was duly approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI).
"India is the leading production hub for the production of Sputnik vaccine. RDIF had earlier reached agreements with a number of pharmaceutical companies in India (Gland Pharma, Hetero Biopharma, Panacea Biotec, Stelis Biopharma, Virchow Biotech and Morepen) for production of the Russian vaccine", the statement added.
RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev said that Russia’s sovereign wealth fund is "delighted" to cooperate with the SII.
"This strategic partnership is a major step to substantially increase our production capabilities demonstrating a perfect example of joining forces and expertise to save lives both in India and around the world. With technology transfer underway we expect the first batches of the vaccine to be produced jointly with SII in coming months," Dmitriev was quoted in the statement as saying.
SII CEO Adar Poonawalla also said that the institute is glad to partner with the RDIF and hopes to make "millions of doses" in the near future "with trial batches starting in the month of September".
"With high efficacy and a good safety profile, it is critical that the Sputnik vaccine is accessible in full measure for people across India and the world. Given the uncertainty of the virus, it is important for international institutes, and governments to collaborate and further bolster up our fight against the pandemic", Poonawalla added.