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The production of the Sputnik Light vaccine assumes significance in light of the Omicron variant. (File)New Delhi: The talks on the production of anti-COVID vaccine Sputnik Light in India are nearing completion, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.”The talks on Sputnik Light are nearing completion,” Lavrov said following the talks with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar in New Delhi today, reported Russian media TASS.The agreement on the production of the two-component vaccine Sputnik V in the Republic is also being implemented, the minister added.”Quite a large scale is expected – around hundred million doses each year,” TASS reported quoting him.The CEO of Russian Direct Investment Fund Kirill Dmitriev had said: “We are hopeful for the launch of Sputnik Light in India in December and we are working very well with Indian institutes.””We have Serum institute as our production partner in India, and we believe that Sputnik Light will play a big role in the Indian vaccination campaign,” he added.In mid-September, a committee of experts under the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) issued a permit for intermediate tests of the third (final) stage of Sputnik Light studies in India. Once approved, Sputnik Light will be the first one-dose coronavirus vaccine to be used in India.The production of the Sputnik Light vaccine against coronavirus in India assumes much significance as a new variant of COVID-19 was first reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) from South Africa on November 25. As per the WHO, the first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on November 9 this year.On November 26, the WHO named the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, as ‘Omicron’. The WHO has classified Omicron as a ‘variant of concern’.Dozens of countries have imposed travel restrictions on the southern African nations since the mutation was discovered.The new Omicron coronavirus variant has been confirmed in 23 countries and their number is expected to rise, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had said.India has also added several countries to the list from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in the country, including post-arrival testing for infection.India currently uses three vaccines, including Covishield developed by the British-Swedish company AstraZeneca and produced by India’s Serum Institute, Covaxin produced by India’s Bharat Biotech, and Russia’s Sputnik V. Two US vaccines, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, have recently also been approved for emergency use in the country, though the vaccination using those jabs has not started yet in India, according to TASS.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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