India has given a go-ahead for clinical trials of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in the country.

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, a pharmaceutical firm based in the southern Hyderabad city, and Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) have been allowed by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) to begin phase 2 and phase 3 clinical trials in the South Asian country.

The Indian firm and Russian body reached an agreement for clinical trials in September, but the country’s drug regulator had earlier denied permission.

“As part of the partnership, the RDIF shall supply 100 million doses of the vaccine to Dr. Reddy’s upon regulatory approval in India,” the RDIF tweeted on Saturday.

G V Prasad, co-chairman and managing director of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, said: “This is a significant development that allows us to commence the clinical trial in India and we are committed to bringing in a safe and efficacious vaccine to combat the pandemic.”

India is the second worst-hit country in the world, with over 7.4 million COVID-19 cases, including over 113,000 deaths.

The country’s prime minister chaired a meeting on the COVID-19 situation and vaccine development efforts on Saturday.

There are three vaccines in advanced stages of development in India, with two of them in phase 2 and one in phase 3, according to the government.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed that “access to the vaccine should be ensured speedily … [and] every step in the logistics, delivery, and administration should be put in place rigorously,” read a statement.

“Prime Minister further directed that we should not limit our efforts to our immediate neighborhood but also reach out to the entire world in providing vaccines, medicines and IT platforms for the vaccine delivery system,” it added.

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