Hyderabad: The city- based Virchow Biotech Private Limited, one of the leading vaccine and pharmaceutical producers in India, and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russia's sovereign wealth fund, on 22 March announced the agreement to produce up to 200 million doses per year of Sputnik V, the world's first registered vaccine against the novel coronavirus.

The technology transfer is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2021 followed by full-scale commercial production of Sputnik V. Virchow Biotech capacities will help facilitate the global supply of Sputnik V to international partners of RDIF.

"We are glad to sign a cooperation agreement with RDIF to produce the Sputnik V vaccine. Virchow's proven capabilities in large-scale drug substance manufacturing should help meet the global demand for this vaccine. We are also happy to learn of the positive feedback that this vaccine has been receiving from all countries," said Dr. Tummuru Murali, the managing director of Virchow Biotech.

Sputnik V has been registered in 54 countries globally with a total population of over 1.4 billion people. The efficacy of Sputnik V is 91.6 per cent as confirmed by the data published in the Lancet, one of the world's oldest and most respected medical journals. The vaccine is based on a proven and well-studied platform of human adenoviral vectors and uses two different vectors for the two shots in a course of vaccination, providing immunity with a longer duration than vaccines using the same delivery mechanism for both shots.

Kirill Dmitriev, the CEO of RDIF, said vaccine partnerships are the only way to overcome the pandemic. "The world continues its fight against coronavirus and we see a growing interest in Sputnik V vaccine as it is one of the most efficient vaccines available. The agreement with Virchow Biotech is an important step to facilitate the full-scale local production of the vaccine in India and to supply our international partners globally," he added.

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