In a massive development on Monday, the Subject Expert Committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation recommended the Emergency Use Authorization of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine. If the Drugs Controller General of India accepts this recommendation, it will become the 3rd approved COVID-19 vaccine in India after COVAXIN and COVISHIELD amid surging novel coronavirus cases. To be manufactured in India by Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, this vaccine has shown the efficacy of 91.6% in the phase 3 trials.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had announced the approval of Sputnik V on August 11, 2020, making it the first vaccine against COVID-19 to be approved in the world. It has been named after the world's first satellite launched by the Soviet Union. Developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology along with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), it contains two different human common cold viruses which have been modified to make the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
When a vaccinated person comes into contact with COVID-19, the body will have developed an immune response in the form of antibodies to protect it against the virus. Costing less than 10 US dollars for each dose of the vaccine in international markets, the dry form of Sputnik V can be stored at 2-8 degrees celsius. As per sources, more COVID-19 vaccines such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Novavax vaccine, Zydus Cadila's vaccine and Bharat Biotech's Intranasal vaccine are also likely to receive the Centre's nod in the upcoming months.
On January 3, the Drugs Controller General of India accepted the recommendations of the Subject Expert Committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, paving way for the approval of COVISHIELD and COVAXIN. Manufactured by the Serum Institute of India with technology transfer from Oxford University-AstraZeneca, COVISHIELD is a Recombinant Chimpanzee Adenovirus vector vaccine with its overall efficacy of 70.42 per cent. On the other hand, COVAXIN is a Whole Virion Inactivated Corona Virus Vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR and NIV.
While only healthcare and frontline workers were vaccinated at government facilities in the initial phase, the inoculation drive was expanded to include people above 60 years of age and those aged above 45 years having comorbidities in the second phase. From April 1 onwards, all persons above the age of 45 can have become eligible for inoculation. Addressing all CMs on Thursday, PM Modi pitched a 'Tika Utsav' from April 11 to 14, requested the states to focus on micro-containment zones and contact tracing and defended the age bar for vaccination. A total of 9,20,19,734 persons have been inoculated in India till now, 1,22,02,886 of them have received the second dose of the vaccine too.