Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine to be available next week: Centre
The Union Health Ministry on Thursday announced that Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine will be available in markets across the country from early next week. At the Health Ministry's press briefing, NITI Aayog member Dr. VK Paul said that the local production of around 15.6 crore doses of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine would begin in July. Here are more details.
Sputnik V was granted regulatory approval in April
Sputnik V was given emergency use authorization by the Drugs Controller General of India on April 12. Its first batch with 1.5 lakh doses arrived in Hyderabad on May 1, while the second batch will arrive on May 14. "We are hopeful that the sale of the limited supply that has come...will begin next week," Dr. Paul said.
Developed last year, Russian COVID-19 vaccine has efficacy of 91.6%
Sputnik V was developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology and approved in Russia on August 11, 2020. With an efficacy of 91.6%, as per The Lancet, the vaccine has been cleared for mass use in over 50 countries. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) signed a deal to produce 750 million doses (for import) of Sputnik V in India.
Sputnik V uses 2 different adenovirus vectors
Sputnik V is a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine that uses two different adenovirus vectors (Ad26 and Ad5). The gene from the two viral vectors, which cause infection, is removed and a gene that produces the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is added. This helps trigger an immune response against SARS-CoV-2. The use of two viral vectors also helps trigger a stronger immune response.
15.6 crore doses will be manufactured by Dr. Reddy's
For local use, 15.6 crore doses of the Russian vaccine will be manufactured by Hyderabad-based Dr. Reddy's Laboratories. RDIF forged a partnership with Dr. Reddy's to conduct clinical trials of the Sputnik V vaccine, and they have rights for distribution in India. Dr. Paul also said that a total of 216 crore vaccine doses will likely be available in India between August and December.
75 crore Covishield doses to be produced
These doses would include Covishield (75 crore doses), COVAXIN (55 crore), Johnson & Johnson's vaccine (30 crore), Sputnik V (15.6 crore), Bharat Biotech's nasal vaccine (10 crore), Zydus Cadila's vaccine (five crore), along with six crore doses from Gennova, Dr. Paul said.
WHO's recognition of Sputnik V vaccine underway: UN Secretary-General
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday said that the process of recognition of the Sputnik V by the World Health Organization was underway and that the UN would welcome its completion. "I am very grateful that the Russian Federation has made available the Sputnik V vaccine to UN staff," Guterres said after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.
Pfizer, Moderna, J&J also invited to manufacture vaccines in India
The Russian vaccine's availability is expected to augment the vaccination program in India, which on Thursday reported 3.62 lakh new COVID-19 cases. After appeals of increasing vaccine supply to the Centre, several states have now floated global tenders to import vaccine doses directly from manufacturers abroad. India has also invited Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson to manufacture in India, according to Dr. Paul.