Time-tested partner: Russia sends more anti-Covid medical supplies

By Shweta Aggarwal

In the spirit of time-tested partnership with India, Russia sent another flight carrying medical supplies for India to help it combat COVID-19 and assured to intensify cooperation to help the strategic partner to combat the pandemic.

An Il-76 plane of the Russian Emergencies Ministry carrying medical supplies landed at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on May 25.

Briefing reporters, Russia’s Ambassador to India Nikolai Kudashev said that this was the third aircraft carrying Russia’s aid. It delivered more than 9 tonnes of medicines for India, which is hit by a deadly second wave of the coronavirus infection.

“According to the Russian government’s decision, another cargo with humanitarian assistance was delivered to India on May 25 in the amount of more than 9 tonnes or 225,000 packages of medicines for combating COVID-19. One more humanitarian delivery confirms Russia’s consistent support for India in its fight against the unprecedented coronavirus threat given the high level of bilateral strategic partnership and mutual trust,” the Russian envoy said.

“Russia is one of India’s leading partners in fighting against COVID-19 and this cooperation is also intensively maintained in the field of vaccines,” he stressed.

The Russian Federation decided to send humanitarian assistance to India in the mere spirit of the special and privileged strategic partnership between the two nations, said the envoy.

In April, Russia sent 22 tonnes of medical supplies to India to assist the country against the second wave. Two planes operated by the Russian EMERCOM landed in India which carried 20 oxygen production units, 75 ventilators and 2,00,000 packs of medicines.

Sputnik-V in India

Besides sending medical supplies, Russia is partnering with India in joint development and manufacturing of Sputnik-V vaccine in India.

The partnership of Russia and India in facilitating the production of the Sputnik-V vaccine in India will assist humanity in battling the pandemic. Russian Deputy Chief of Mission to India Roman Babushkin, recently informed that the Sputnik Lite Covid vaccine has been undergoing the third phase of clinical trials and it is a single-dose vaccine for Covid-19. India is one of the leaders in the world in terms of the capacity of medicine production.  “We are getting some more requests from other Indian companies and state governments and all proposals are being studied very carefully,” the deputy envoy said.

The Sputnik-V vaccine is among the three vaccines that India has approved for its vaccination drive. Dr Reddy’s laboratories have tied up with Sputnik to manufacture the vaccine in India. As of now, two consignments of the vaccine have come to India. The first one had come on May 1 and the second on May 16. The regulatory clearance from the Central Drugs Laboratory-Kasauli was given on May 13.

When the second batch of the vaccine landed in Hyderabad, Kudashev, said, ‘Sputnik V is Russian-India vaccine. We expect that its production in India will gradually be increased up to 850 million doses per year’. There are also plans to introduce a single-dose vaccine soon in India, called Sputnik Lite. Dr Reddy’s lab launched Sputnik V in the Indian market on May 14. The first dose was administered in Hyderabad. The company has fixed the price for imported doses at ₹948, with 5 per cent GST per dose, a total of ₹995.4 per dose.

(Simran Walia contributed inputs for this article)


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