Because it has been unable to sell its large stock of Covid vaccine Sputnik Light due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Bengaluru-based Stelis Biopharma has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting that the vaccines be procured for inoculating citizens in India or supplying to other countries under the Vaccine Maitri programme. Due to multiple restraints following the Russian-Ukraine war, Stelis Biopharma, the biopharmaceutical branch of Strides Pharma Science, said it was unable to sell 2.5 crore units of the single-dose vaccination it produced.
The company also received government approvals to produce and export the jabs. ”We are proud to state that after having been granted due approvals by the Government of India, we started manufacturing Sputnik Light in India and produced no less than 2.5 crore vaccine doses. However, due to several constraints related to Russia, these vaccines are lying unsold with us at present,” Kumar said.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had granted emergency use permission to Sputnik Light, subject to certain regulatory provisions, in February this year. However, it is currently not being administered in the country. In the letter written on May 13, Arun Kumar, Founder and Director of Stelis Biopharma Limited, said that after the prime minister had requested the industry to gear up to tackle the pandemic, the firm invested over Rs 700 crore to set up a state-of the-art vaccine manufacturing facility within six months despite the COVID-19-induced restrictions and quickly commenced the production of Sputnik Light.
Kumar requested that the government should acquire the available doses, failing which these will get wasted and the company will face a huge financial loss. ”We request the Government of India to procure our readily available vaccine and administer it to the people of India or donate it to other countries under the India Aid / Covid Maitri programme,” he stated.
Sputnik Light is a one-dose vaccine and is same as component-1 of Sputnik V. In March 2021, Stelis had partnered with Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, to produce and supply the vaccine.
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