Mankind pharma in collaboration with Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) will look after sales and distribution of Sputnik V in India. This comes as RDIF has also reached agreements with Indian manufacturers to produce 300 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Russian company is also in partnership with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories to conduct clinical trials of the Sputnik V. A few days ago, it received approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to conduct mid to late-stage human trials for the Sputnik V vaccine. Dr Reddy’s said this will be a multi-center and randomized controlled study which will include safety and immunogenicity study.
Sources said the cooperation agreement has been signed for sales and distribution of Sputnik V with RDIF by Mankind pharma. The vaccine has been developed by Russia-based Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology. Reports say that its unclear how many doses Mankind Pharma would be distributing as part of its agreement with RDIF. The company also has resources to manufacture the vaccine in Israel and South Korea.
Dr Muhammad Munir, lecturer in Molecular Virology at the Lancaster University, said a number of features make Sputnik V a promising candidate. He said the idea of using two different adenoviruses as vector is superior over many vaccines in the frontline. “The immune system perceive the vector proteins as antigen similar to the S protein of SARS-CoV-2, so it elicit immune response against those proteins as well, he explained. “If people are reimmunized, the pre-existing immunity can compromise the efficacy of second vaccine dose. Using a vector of different nature, as is in the Sputnik V, will avoid this problem.”
According to the Russian health ministry, the vaccine is expected to provide immunity from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, for up to two years. Indonesia also has plans to conduct clinical trials for Sputnik V and its also expected to join the manufacturing process of the vaccine. Russia expects that by the end of 2021, it will have supplied over one billion doses of the vaccine.