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Sputnik V now in India: What is the price of the Russian vaccine for Covid-19?

Sputnik V Covid-19 Vaccine: Sputnik V is a two-dose Covid-19 vaccine, which has an efficacy of over 91 per cent, according to a publication in scientific journal The Lancet. How much will it cost in India? How many doses will it add to India's vaccination efforts?

Written by Prabha Raghavan , Edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi |
May 14, 2021 2:28:05 pm
Vials containing Russia's Sputnik V vaccine for Covid-19 are seen in this image. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories on Friday said it had launched Sputnik V in India. The vaccine is currently the second most expensive Covid-19 jab in the country.

What is Sputnik V?

Made by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, Sputnik V is a two-dose Covid-19 vaccine using a similar platform to Covishield — the most widely used vaccine in India since the government’s immunisation programme began in January.

However, unlike Covishield, which uses a weakened common cold “adenovirus” that affects chimpanzees, Sputnik V makes use of two different human adenoviruses.

The vaccine has an efficacy of over 91 per cent, according to a publication in scientific journal The Lancet. This means it has the ability to bring down symptomatic Covid-19 cases by over 91 per cent in those vaccinated compared with those who have not received a Covid vaccine.

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In India, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories is the local distribution partner for Sputnik V.

Where was Sputnik V launched in India?

Following clearances from the Central Drugs Laboratory, which performed various tests on the vaccine’s quality and stability, the first dose of Sputnik V was administered in Hyderabad.

How many doses will Sputnik add to India’s vaccination efforts?

So far, DRL has only received 150,000 doses of this vaccine from Russia. The company expects more doses soon. According to its agreement with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which has been in charge of signing agreements for supply of this vaccine across the world, India is expected to get at least 250 million doses, which will be sufficient to inoculate 125 million people. However, it is unclear by when these doses will be supplied and distributed in India.

Capacity to make around 850 million doses of the vaccine is also being set up in India through pacts inked with various biotechnology companies.

How much will Sputnik V cost?

The imported vaccine has been priced at Rs 948 per dose. However, including 5 per cent Goods and Services Tax, the price of this vaccine goes up to Rs 995.40 per dose.

DRL says the price might go down once local supplies begin. It is unclear when this is expected to happen.

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How does this price compare to other Covid-19 vaccines?

Covishield, manufactured by Serum Institute of India, is cheaper than Sputnik V at the moment. It is provided to States at Rs 300 per dose, while it is priced at Rs 600 per dose to private hospitals.

Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin — the other Covid vaccine supplied in India — is the most expensive Covid-19 vaccine in India’s portfolio of vaccines so far. It is priced at Rs 400 per dose for States and sold at Rs 1,200 per dose to private hospitals.

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