Panacea Biotech starts production of Sputnik V in India

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Image: Screengrab from a video tweeted by Sputnik V
Image: Screengrab from a video tweeted by Sputnik V

New Delhi : Panacea Biotec Ltd has started the production of Russia's vaccine Sputnik V to boost the vaccination drive in India.

The first batch of the vaccine is being produced at Panacea’s facility at Baddi in Himachal Pradesh from where it will be shipped to Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Russia for quality control.

The full-scale production of the vaccine is likely to begin this summer, the New Delhi-based vaccine maker and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said in a joint statement on Monday.

According to a report by Mint, "Panacea Biotec will initially make test batches of 3 million vaccines each of the first and second doses."

Sputnik V vaccine requires two doses which are given at an interval of two to three weeks. 

While some samples have been sent to Russia for testing the quality of the batch, the rest has been kept in India, the person said. “After fulfilling India’s requirement now, the batches produced by Panacea may also be exported," the report quoted a person with knowledge of the matter.

Panacea has a pact with RDIF to manufacture 100 million doses of Sputnik V.

“Launch of production in India in partnership with Panacea Biotec marks an important step in helping the country fight the pandemic. Production of Sputnik V supports efforts of India’s authorities to leave behind the acute phase of coronavirus as soon as possible while the vaccine will also be exported at a later stage to help prevent the spread of the virus in other countries around the world," RDIF chief executive officer Kirill Dmitriev said in the statement.