As COVID-19 cases are rising exponentially in India, the country has begun the third phase of the Coronavirus vaccination drive for those above 18 years. To control the havoc created by the second wave of pandemic and amid the vaccine shortage, India has given a nod to Russia's COVID-19 vaccine- Sputnik V as its third coronavirus vaccine after Covieshield and Covaxin to get emergency authorisation. The first batch of Sputnik V arrived in India on May 1. Now, the question arises from when the Sputnik V will be injected and who will get the 91.6% effective vaccine.
The first batch of Sputnik V landed in Hyderabad on May 1 and it contained 1,50,000 doses of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine. On the arrival of the first batch of Sputnik V, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories CEO Deepak Sapra talking to ANI responded on the number of doses and when it will be available for inoculation drive. "This is the first shipment and it contains 1,50,000 doses. This one goes through certain statutory clearances after that is done in a week it will be available," said Deepak Sapra adding that 'it will be available in two to three weeks.
Indian regulators granted regulatory approval or restricted use authorisation to Sputnik V on April 12 of this year. Dr. Reddy’s has partnered with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to supply the first 250 million doses of Sputnik V in India.
As per an official statement released by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), "The vaccine has been registered in India under the emergency use authorization procedure based on results of clinical trials in Russia as well as positive data of additional Phase III local clinical trials in India conducted in partnership with Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories."
An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is a mechanism to facilitate the availability and use of medical countermeasures, including vaccines, during public health emergencies, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Just like India-made Covishield, which is AstraZeneca-Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V is also based on a modified version of a common cold virus. As per The Guardian report, Russia’s vaccine against the novel coronavirus is tailored in a way to carry genetic instructions for making the coronavirus spike protein and ‘triggers and immune response’ for protection against COVID-19.
The Russian government approved the vaccine in August 2020 and the jab has been tested few dozen people. Since it was the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine to receive approval, initially several critics posed questions about the ‘absence of transparency. However, a study was published in The Lancet that involved over 20,000 adults and over 2,100 people above the age of 60. Sputnik V is a two-dose adenoviral vector vaccine using two different adenoviruses for each dose. Both doses have to be administered 21 days apart.
About Sputnik V
The name 'Sputnik' means a satellite or a travel companion in the Russian language. It was the first artificial Earth satellite. It was launched into an elliptical low Earth orbit by the USSR on 4 October 1957 as part of the Soviet space program. Last year in August, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the "world's first Covid-19 vaccine" -- Sputnik V (the 'V' stands for the letter V and not the Roman numeral for five). The efficacy of Sputnik V was found to be 91.6 per cent after three phases of trials.
Sputnik V To Be Manufactured In India
The Russian envoy has informed that local production of Sputnik V jabs is slated to begin soon and will gradually be increased to nearly 850 million doses per year. While it is being imported initially, more than 850 million doses of the Russian vaccine will also be produced in India annually. Dr. Reddy’s and Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) entered into a partnership to conduct the clinical trials of the Sputnik V vaccine and the rights for distribution in India.
(Image Credits: AP/PTI)