Looking forward to expand cooperation with India to contain COVID-19: Russia

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New Delhi, May 1 (PTI) As the first batch of 150,000 doses of Russian-made Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine arrived in India, Russia on Saturday said it was looking forward to further expand bilateral and multilateral cooperation with New Delhi to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Russian Ambassador to India Nikolay Kudashev said the efficacy of the Sputnik V is among the highest in the world, and the vaccine will also be effective against new strains of COVID-19.

'As Russia and India continue dedicated joint efforts to combat the COVID19, this move is especially important to support the Indian government's endeavours to mitigate the deadly second wave and save lives,' he said.

'The efficacy of the Sputnik V is among the highest in the world, and this vaccine will also be effective against new strains of COVID-19,' he added.

Kudashev said the production of the Sputnik V vaccine in India is starting soon and the plan is to gradually increase the production up to 850 million doses per year.

'Look forward to further expand our bilateral and multilateral cooperation with India to stop the pandemic,' he said.

The first consignment of the Sputnik V doses landed in Hyderabad from Russia on Saturday.

Leading pharma company Dr Reddy's Laboratories has tied up with Russian Direct Investment Fund for procurement and production of the vaccine in India.

On Thursday, Russia delivered to India 20 tonnes of medical supplies mainly comprising oxygen concentrators, ventilators and medicines as part of its assistance to help the country deal with the second wave of the pandemic that gripped several states and union territories.

The medical supplies were brought to Delhi in two transport aircraft operated by Russia's EMERCOM, a state-run agency overseeing civil emergency services The relief materials were delivered a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a telephonic conversation focusing on ways to contain the pandemic. PTI MPB RT RT