Developed by Russia's Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Sputnik V was approved by Indian drug regulator last month

As India steps up COVID-19 vaccination amidst the second wave of pandemic, the first lot of 1.5 lakh doses of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine arrived in Hyderabad from Russia on Saturday.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) had joined hands with Dr Reddy's in September 2020 to carry out clinical trials of Sputnik V in India. The vaccine will will be imported from Russia in limited quantities before Indian manufacturers start producing the vaccine locally.

Dr Reddy's said the first consignment of 1.5 lakh doses of the Russian vaccine has landed in Hyderabad. Subsequent consignments will arrive in the next few weeks, the Hyderabad-based company said.

"...the first consignment of 1,50,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine has landed in Hyderabad from Russia. The rollout of the consignment will be subject to the necessary clearances, which will be processed over the next few days," Dr Roddy's Laboratories, API and Services CEO, Deepak Sapra said.

"This initial quantity will be used across different channels as a pilot to line up "our supply chain for the larger vaccination programme rollout", he added.

RDIF has inked deals with several Indian pharma companies, including Gland Pharma, Hetero Biopharma, Virchow Biotech, and Stelis Biopharma, for production of the vaccine.

Six manufacturing units have been selected for producing Sputnik V in India. Two of these units will begin vaccine supply by June-July, the other two by August, and the remaining two are expected to begin the supply of the vaccine either by September or October, Sapra had said earlier.

Dr Reddy's, which managed the clinical trials of Sputnik V in India, is also testing the vaccine for its effectiveness against the new variants of SARS-CoV-2 found in India.