India’s Output, Exports of Russia’s Sputnik Vaccine at Risk Due to Ukraine Crisis

RDIF has deals with several Indian companies to make nearly one billion doses of Sputnik COVID-19 vaccines, though output has not risen beyond a few million doses.

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New Delhi: India’s production and exports of Russia’s Sputnik COVID-19 vaccines are expected to slow further following US sanctions on Russia’s sovereign wealth fund that promotes the shot globally, three Indian pharmaceutical industry sources told Reuters.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) had billed India as one of Sputnik‘s biggest production hubs and markets, though local sales have stagnated at 1.2 million doses out of 1.8 billion doses of various vaccines administered in the country.

RDIF, which has said the US sanction this week could complicate its promotion of Sputnik shots, has deals with several Indian companies to make nearly one billion doses of it, though output has not risen beyond a few million doses.

RDIF’s main Indian distributor for Sputnik is Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories and its manufacturing partners include Hetero and the Serum Institute of India (SII).

Another Indian company, which was to make more than 100 million Sputnik doses but had held off production due to a lack of demand in India, has now decided to not manufacture it at all, said a person with direct knowledge’s of the matter. The person declined to be named or identify the company.

Another source at an Indian company said Sputnik sales were likely to be slow in the near future.

RDIF and Hetero did not respond to requests for comment. The SII declined to comment.

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Dr. Reddy’s, one of India’s biggest drugmakers which has been selling its products in and around Russia for more than three decades, said it did not see any impact as Indian companies no longer import material from Russia to make Sputnik shots in India.

“We have manufacturing capabilities in India and drug substance is not imported. Hence there is no impact,” a spokesperson said in an email.

“Overall, we are monitoring evolving developments closely and preparing accordingly.”

Some four million Sputnik doses, bottled in India using imported material from Russia last year, were exported around October. Last month, India sent 135,875 locally made doses of the single-dose Sputnik Light vaccine to Uzbekistan, according to India’s foreign ministry.