The first batch of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, which has received approval from India’s drug regulator for restricted emergency use, is expected to reach the country by end of May, PTI reported on Tuesday, quoting a spokesperson of pharmaceutical company Dr Reddy’s Laboratories.

In September 2020, Dr Reddy’s and the Russian Direct Investment Fund entered into a partnership to conduct clinical trials of Sputnik V, developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, and the rights for distribution of first 10 crore doses in India.

The spokesperson said that while Dr Reddy’s was looking to import the first batch by the April-June quarter, the company was also looking to ramp up domestic manufacturing of the vaccine in the next three months, PTI reported.

Sputnik V is the third vaccine to receive emergency-use authorisation in India after the Serum Institute of India’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund also has contracts with other Indian firms, including Gland Pharma and Hetero Biopharma, to produce doses of the vaccine. The Russian Direct Investment Fund, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, has said that more than 85 crore doses of the Sputnik V vaccine will be produced in India annually.

Sputnik V had shown a 91.6% efficacy in late-stage trials, according to results published in February. No serious adverse events were found to be linked with the vaccination. However, the trial did not include efficacy data of the vaccine for new variants of the coronavirus.

The vaccine is administered in two doses separated by 21 days and requires a minus 18-20 degree Celsius cold chain to remain stable. Efforts are underway to develop a freeze dried version of the shot, which will stay stable in the 2 to 8 degrees Celsius temperature range.