The Russians who registered the first coronavirus vaccine in the world are keen on producing their candidate Sputnik V in India. India is already a key player in the vaccine manufacturing space. Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund that is funding the Russian coronavirus vaccine programme said, "Moscow is keen to manufacture COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V in India." The Russian vaccine has been developed by the Gamaleya Institute in Moscow.
In an interview to India Today TV, Dmitriev said Russia is in touch with Indian regulators and manufacturers to produce the COVID-19 vaccine in India. "We have great cooperation with India, Indian scientists and Indian manufacturers. They understand our technology," said Dmitriev.
Dmitriev pointed out that India's manufacturing capacity is an added factor and hence Russia is interested in bringing India on board as a production partner. "We saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi comment that India is open to manufacturing the vaccine in their country...India has already invested in the vaccine sector heavily with top companies and manufacturing capabilities already exist in India, hence Moscow is keen to manufacture Sputnik V in India," Dmitriev said.
The CEO of RDIF said that Russia is also open to holding clinical trials of the coronavirus vaccine in India. He said that Russia is working with 20 countries, including Saudi Arabia, UAE and India in their attempt to make the vaccine affordable and accessible with global production partners.
Dmitriev addressed concerns about the safety of the Russian coronavirus vaccine as well. As the process sped up, many experts raised concerns that the vaccine did not complete all the necessary clinical trials before the registration. Russian President Vladimir Putin had addressed the concerns and said that it is safe and that one of his daughters has also received the vaccine.
Dmitriev said, "The vaccine is safe and reliable. I have been inoculated along with my entire family, including my 90-year old parents. Our target is to inoculate 40 million people in Russia. The vaccine platform has been developed over the last six years and hence has no side effects," he said.
He added that countries do not need WHO clearance for procurement of the vaccine but of domestic regulators. "The WHO is changing its language on accepting Sputnik V. Countries do not need WHO clearance to procure the vaccine. It needs to be authorised by the domestic regulator," he added.