India is among the 20 countries that have expressed interest in obtaining the new coronavirus vaccine announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.
Putin declared Russia the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine, but scientists and the World Health Organization (WHO) said it still needed a rigorous safety review. The vaccine has been named 'Sputnik V'.
Putin said the vaccine was safe and that one of his own daughters had been inoculated, though clinical trials were not yet complete and final stage testing involving more than 2,000 people was to start only on Wednesday.
In a statement, Sputnik said that the production of the vaccine is expected to start in September.
"The RDIF (Russian Direct Investment Fund) sees strong global interest in the vaccine and plans to conduct Phase 3 clinical trials in different countries, including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Brazil, India and Philippines, and start mass production in other countries in partnership with local sovereign wealth funds, including India, South Korea and Brazil, as well as, in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Cuba," said the statement, addinng that the plan is to ramp up the vaccine production to 200 million doses by the end of 2020, including 30 million doses in Russia.
"At least 20 countries had expressed interest in obtaining the Sputnik V, including UAE, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Philippines, Brazil, Mexico and India," added the statement.
Putin has pushed hard for Russia to be the first to announce a vaccine and officials dubbed it "Sputnik V" after the Soviet-era satellite that was the first launched into space.
Kirill Dmitriyev, who heads RDIF, said along with foreign partners, Russia was ready to manufacture 500 million doses of vaccine per year in five countries.
Sputnik V is a so-called viral vector vaccine, meaning it employs another virus to carry the DNA encoding of the needed immune response into cells.
Gamaleya's vaccine is based on the adenovirus, a similar technology to the coronavirus vaccine prototype developed by China's CanSino.
The state-run institute came under fire after researchers and its director injected themselves with the prototype several months ago, with specialists criticising the move as an unorthodox and rushed way of starting human trials.