Russia urged India to lift a ban on the export of single-dose Covid vaccine Sputnik Light saying its shelf life might render it useless by the time it gets emergency use authorisation from India’s drug regulator.
The government, however, is yet to respond to Russia’s request and any decision can be made soon, said sources in Union Health Ministry.
The Sputnik Light vaccine in India is produced by Hetero Biopharma which is one of the Russian Direct Investment Fund partners in the production of the vaccine.
“Hetero Biopharma Limited, one of the leading Indian pharmaceutical companies and RDIF’s partner in the production of the Sputnik Light, has already manufactured one million doses of Component I of the Sputnik V vaccine and two million doses of the Sputnik Light and intends to continue its production further,” said Russian ambassador Nicholay Kudashev in a communication to the Centre.
The emissary has requested the Indian government to allow the export of Sputnik Light to his country till the vaccine gets emergency use authorisation from India’s drug regulator.
“However, a shelf life tenure of the vaccine, i.e., six months only, may expire before its registration, which will result in the wastage of several million doses of the vitally important Sputnik Light vaccine”, he added.
“We would like to note that the Indian manufacturers of the Russian vaccine are discouraged by the current ban that prevents the use of the produced Sputnik Light vaccine in India and its export to other countries,” said communication to V K Paul, chair of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC).
The ARDIF and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories are working with the authorities on the registration of the Sputnik Light in India.