Living up to its expectation as a trusted Indian strategic partner, Russia is sending another 150,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccines in the next two days, while another three million doses will be landing in Hyderabad with partner Dr Reddy's Laboratories by May-end. Moscow has decided to ramp up Sputnik V doses to more than five million next month and more than 10 million vaccines in July.
According to diplomats based in New Delhi and Moscow, Russia is sending at least four medium oxygen generating trucks, which can feed a 200-bed hospital after being plugged into the power supply. These trucks produce 70 kilograms of oxygen per hour and 50,000 litres per day so that there is no paucity of oxygen at the hospital to which they are attached. "We have already procured four such trucks and getting more so that oxygen paucity is reduced. These trucks will be landing by Russian IL-76 aircraft by the end of this week," said a diplomat.
The first batch of 150,000 doses of Sputnik V arrived on May 1, the day when India opened its third phase of vaccination to people between the age group of 18 to 44 years. Sputnik V is based on human adenoviral vectors, is one of three vaccines (the other two are Pfizer and Moderna) that have an efficacy of over 90 per cent against the coronavirus disease, which is caused by SARS-CoV-2. It was given regulatory approval or restricted use authorisation in India on April 12.
The Russian medical support can be seen at Kalawati Hospital in Delhi with 75 ventilators, 20 large capacity oxygen concentrators and 150-bed monitors being installed at the Central Delhi hospital. Besides 60 large oxygen concentrators already on way through private donation, Russia has supplied 200,000 tablets of Fafivir drug, used for treating early stages of coronavirus, to all central AIIMS facilities in north India.
While Russia is keen to supply Remdesivir vials also, the Indian regulators simultaneously working out minor regulatory issues like getting the vials of Sputnik V labelled in English apart from the overall packaging. "New Delhi and Moscow are constantly in touch with each other through the diplomatic channels so that medical support is available on demand as much as possible," said an Indian diplomat.