The pricing of the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, currently capped at Rs 995 per dose, is expected to come down once local manufacturing of the vaccine begins, according to a company spokesperson from Dr Reddy's Laboratories.

The company spokesperson told ANI, "The current MRP of Rs. 948 + 5 percent GST is for the imported doses. We are not able to provide a specific number but as indicated, once local manufacturing of Sputnik V begins, we do expect the possibility of a lower price point."

The spokesperson also informed that the company was currently engaged in discussions to bring the single-dose vaccine Sputnik Light to India.

Last week, Dr. Reddy's commenced a limited pilot soft launch of the Sputnik V vaccine in Hyderabad, which was expected to ramp up over the next few weeks and extend to other cities as well.

"The pilot will help us test our -18 degrees cold storage, CoWin integration, track-and-trace and other arrangements before the expected commercial launch in mid-June. We are exploring partnership possibilities with all stakeholders, public as well as private," the spokesperson told ANI.

The supply of the Sputnik V vaccine will commence from Indian manufacturing partners and further consignments of doses are expected over the next few months, the spokesperson said.

The Sputnik V vaccine has been approved in over 60 countries around the world, covering a population of over three billion people. It has reported an efficacy rate of 91.6 percent in phase III trials

Dr Reddy's Laboratories has a contract of 250 million vaccine units with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).

According to the company, the availability of the vaccines will ramp up in the next quarter for the Made in India product. Around 60 to 70 percent of the vaccines will be made in India and most of it will be used in the country itself

Other sites of production of the Sputnik V vaccines are – Hetero Biologics, Virchow Biotech, Panacea Biotec, Gland Pharma, Stelis Biopharma and Shilpa Medicare.

Dr Reddy's Laboratories is responsible for the distribution and marketing of the vaccine around the country and will also monitor the regulatory, safety and pharmacovigilance aspects of the vaccine in India.

India has already received two consignments of vaccines from Russia. Inoculations with Sputnik V in Hyderabad started on May 14 following the arrival of the first batch of the vaccine on May 1.

Russian Ambassador to India, Nikolay Kudashev had earlier said that life-saving humanitarian assistance delivered last month by the Russian side is being successfully used to help Indians to overcome the consequences of the disease.

Kudashev called the delivery of the second batch of Sputnik V vaccine "very timely" after the recent launch of the Russian vaccine in the Indian vaccination campaign.

"The efficacy of Sputnik V is well-known in the world. Back in Russia, it is being successfully used to vaccinate citizens starting since the second half of 2020. Russian specialists declared that it is also effective against the new strains of Covid-19," he said.

On the issue of production capacity, the Russian envoy added, "We expect that its production in India will be gradually increased to 850 million doses per year. Looking forward to further expanding our bilateral and multilateral cooperation with India to stop the pandemic."

Sputnik V was approved for use in India on April 12 and granted emergency use authorisation. India is the leading production hub for Sputnik V.