The developers of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine for Covid-19 announced on Tuesday that the two-dose vaccine will cost about $20 in international markets and would not require extreme cold storage for distribution.
The cost of one dose of Sputnik V in international markets will be less than $10.
“Sputnik V is a two-dose vaccine. Therefore, Sputnik V will be two or more times cheaper than mRNA vaccines with similar efficacy levels,” Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) that has invested in production and promotion of the vaccine, told a virtual news conference.
“We are ready to start delivery of Sputnik V to foreign markets, thanks to partnerships with manufacturers in India, Brazil, South Korea, China and four other countries,” he added.
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In India, RDIF has tied up with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories to produce the vaccine. Currently, phase II and III trials are underway in India. Phase III trials are approved and ongoing in Belarus, the UAE and Venezuela, RDIF said.
Dmitriev said RDIF and its partners have launched production of the lyophilised or dry form of the vaccine, which can be stored at a temperature of two to eight degrees Celsius.
“Such a regime enables the distribution of the vaccine in international markets, as well as expanding its use in hard-to-reach regions, including areas with tropical climates,” RDIF said in a statement. Dmitriev said this factor will make the distribution of Sputnik V cheaper.
RDIF, one of the world’s leading sovereign funds, is expanding existing agreements with international manufacturing partners to produce the vaccine for more than 500 million people a year from 2021, the statement said.
RDIF is also considering additional applications from several countries and companies to increase production capacity. “The first international deliveries of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine will be made to customers in January 2021 based on the existing partnerships with foreign manufacturers,” the statement said. Customers who recently submitted requests will receive the first batches of vaccine from March 2021.
RDIF also said the “second interim analysis of clinical trial data showed a 91.4% efficacy for the Sputnik V vaccine on day 28 after the first dose”, while “vaccine efficacy is over 95% 42 days after the first dose”.
Currently, 40,000 volunteers are taking part in phase III double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled clinical post-registration study of the Sputnik V vaccine in Russia, of whom more than 22,000 volunteers were vaccinated with the first dose and more than 19,000 volunteers with the first and second doses.
“There were no unexpected adverse events during the trials. Monitoring of the participants is ongoing,” the statement said.
Sputnik V is based on the human adenoviral vector platform that RDIF said had proved “safe and effective with no long-term side effects in more than 250 clinical trials” conducted globally over the past two decades.
On August 11, Sputnik V was registered by Russia’s health ministry and became the world’s first registered vaccine against Covid-19.