New Delhi: A panel of experts has approved the emergency use of Russia’s ‘Sputnik-V’ vaccine against the coronavirus disease in India amid the surging cases of the pandemic. After Covishield and Covaxin, this will be the third Covid-19 vaccine to be given in the country if it gets a go-ahead by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).
Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, the Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical company, last week sought Centre’s approval for the vaccine to be used in India. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) partnered with Dr Reddy’s in September 2020 to conduct clinical trials of ‘Sputnik V’ in India. The Russian vaccine has an efficacy of 91.6% based on the interim analysis of phase III clinical trials, which included data from 19,866 volunteers in Russia and is conducting its Phase III clinical trials in the UAE, India, Venezuela and Belarus, according to the Sputnik-V’s website.
Along with Dr Reddy’s, RDIF has tied up with a host of Indian pharmaceutical players such as Hetero Biopharma, Gland Pharma, Stelis Biopharma and Vichrow Biotech for the production of vaccine doses. With a production capacity of 850 million doses in the country, ‘Sputnik V’ will provide a major shot in the arm in the battle against deadly corona virus.
The makers of the vaccine claim Sputnik-V is an affordable vaccine and can be “stored at a temperature of +2 to +8°C “. They say that these aspects of Sputnik-V allow for fast distribution of the vaccine in hard-to-reach regions across the globe.
The move to approve Sputnik-V by the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) comes as India is currently under the scare of the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic with the number of new cases increasing daily. The worrying surge has forced many states to consider night curfew and other virus-fighting measures to control the pandemic.
Notably, India launched its vaccination drive on January 16 with Covaxin of Bharat Biotech and the vaccine developed by Oxford University-AstraZeneca, which is being manufactured as Covishield by the Serum Institute of India, after they were granted emergency use approval on January 1 and January 3 respectively.
India has vaccinated over 10.45 crore people according to data published by the Union health ministry on Monday. The government has declared a vaccine festival, ‘Tika Utsav’ from April 11 to April 14. On Day 1 of ‘Tika Utsav’, the government said 30 lakh doses were administered.
To note, ‘Sputnik V’ is being developed by Russia’s Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology to fight against Covid-19 based on the human adenoviral vector platform.