Second medical mission from Russia with Remdesivir, other medicines lands

Russia on Tuesday delivered more than nine tonnes of medicine, including 225,000 doses of remdesivir, in its second medical mission to India to support the country’s fight against Covid-19.

An Il-76 plane of the Russian emergencies ministry carrying medical supplies landed in New Delhi on Tuesday morning. This was the third Russian aircraft carrying medical aid, which includes supply of Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V.

“One more humanitarian delivery confirms Russia’s consistent support for India in its fight against the unprecedented coronavirus threat, given the high level of bilateral strategic partnership and mutual trust,” said Nikolai Kudashev, Russian ambassador to India.

Russia had offered to supply more than 300,000 remdesivir – a drug used for treatment of coronavirus infection that is in short supply here – to India every week, based on the requirements here.

In late April, Russia sent two cargo planes carrying humanitarian aid to India within hours of a telephone call between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin.

The two flights had delivered more than 22 tonnes on medical aid, including 20 oxygen generators, 75 mechanical ventilators, 150 medical monitoring devices, and 200,000 packages of medicine for treating Covid-19.

ET had reported on Sunday that Russia would soon dispatch its second medical mission to India. Kudashev had then told ET, “As a close partner and friend of India, Russia will always be there to help. For that purpose, we maintain constant contact with our partners and are ready to provide further assistance, which may be expected any time soon. In 2020, when the pandemic just erupted, India also supplied a huge part of vital medicines to Russia on an exceptional basis.”

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Talking to reporters in St Petersburg last week, Indian envoy to Russia B Venkatesh Varma had said Russia has already supplied 210,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccines to India.

“By end of May, about three million doses (of Sputnik V) will be supplied in bulk. Those will be filled in India; it is called ‘fill & finish’,” Varma said. “In June, this number is expected to increase to five million. And the production in India is expected to start in August. By the present plans, over 850 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine will be finally produced in India…by, say, September-October.”

Sputnik V is being made available in India in three phases, starting with supply of fully manufactured vaccines that has begun. In the second phase, vaccine owner Russian Direct Investment Fund will send the vaccines in bulk. In the third phase, RDIF will transfer the technology to an Indian company to produce the vaccine in India, the Indian envoy said.



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