Russia has sought a nod from the Indian government to lift a ban on the export of single-dose Covid vaccine Sputnik Light citing the reason for its shelf life and possibility of being wasted.
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.
He 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 further.
“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 the 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.
However, the top source at the Union Health Ministry confirmed that the government has not yet responded to Russia’s request and any decision can be made soon.