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UPDATE 2-India's Stelis Biopharma to make 200 mln doses of Sputnik V vaccine

(Adds details from deal, quote, background)

BENGALURU, March 19 (Reuters) - India’s Stelis Biopharma has partnered with Russia’s sovereign fund to make at least 200 million doses of Sputnik V, its parent company said on Friday, taking the nation’s total output of the COVID-19 vaccine to more than half a billion doses.

The announcement by the parent, Strides Pharma Science , of a pact with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) follows similar deals by Indian pharmaceutical firms Gland Pharma and Hetero.

"The significant vaccine volumes which will be produced jointly with Stelis will help to widen access to the vaccine on a global scale," Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Fund, said in a statement bit.ly/3c1gVhP.

Stelis and the Fund plan to start supplies of the vaccine doses in the third quarter of this year, while Stelis works to provide added volumes beyond the initial agreement.

Sputnik V, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, has proved 91.6% effective against COVID-19 and has been approved for use in more than 50 countries, with the Fund signing supply deals with more than 13 nations.

India, the world’s largest vaccine maker, has now become one of the biggest producers of the shot outside Russia. Other countries producing it include Brazil, China and South Korea.

India has gifted or sold doses produced locally to other countries. While nations like the United States are being accused of vaccine nationalism, India has been praised for sending doses to 71 countries.

The statement gave no details of which countries would receive the Stelis-made doses.

India has given emergency use approval to AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine and a homegrown one made by Bharat Biotech.

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd, which has run small clinical studies of Sputnik V domestically, sought emergency-use approval for the vaccine last month, but India’s drug regulator asked for more data. (Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M. and Clarence Fernandez)

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