Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov revealed on Monday that talks with India to manufacture the Russian Sputnik Light COVID vaccine in India were nearing completion and that an agreement on manufacturing Sputnik V was also being implemented. The statement from Lavrov came after a historic 2+2 meeting with his Indian counterpart S.Jaishankar in Delhi.
"Quite a large scale is expected - around hundred million doses each year," he was quoted as saying by Russian news agency TASS.
In mid-September, a committee of experts under the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) issued a permit for intermediate tests of the third (final) stage of Sputnik Light studies in India. Once approved, Sputnik Light will be the first one-dose coronavirus vaccine to be used in India.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) which is backing the Sputnik Light endeavour has revealed that it has also provided Indian regulators with details of the Sputnik M vaccine which is aimed at adolescents aged 12-17, with hopes of future production in the country.
CEO of Russian Direct Investment Fund Kirill Dmitriev said that the production of Sputnik Light would be done in collaboration with India's largest vaccine producer the Serum Institute of India. "We are hopeful for the launch of Sputnik Light in India in December and we are working very well with Indian institutes," he said.
India currently employs AstraZeneca's Covishield, Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and Russia's Sputnik V vaccines against the Covid-19 pandemic. Moderna and Johnson and Johnson have also applied for permission to release the vaccines to the Indian population. The addition of Sputnik Light to the vaccine armoury will be a crucial step in stopping the pandemic, even as new variants like Omicron arise.