An expert committee of the government has permitted the Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V for emergency use in India. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) will take a final call on the commendation.

Sputnik V has demonstrated an effectiveness rate of 91.6 per cent in the short-term analysis of phase 3 clinical trial, which involved data on 19,866 volunteers in Russia. In September last year, Dr Reddy’s joined with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to conduct clinical trials of Sputnik V and for its distribution rights in India.

If approved, Sputnik V will be the third COVID-19 vaccine to be available in India. The DCGI has already given nod to two COVID-19 vaccines — Covaxin of Bharat Biotech and Covishield of Oxford-AstraZeneca, being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.

Explaining the new strategy to manufacture extra vaccine doses, a source said “India currently has 2 COVID-19 vaccines being manufactured locally: Covishield and Covaxin, and we can expect five more vaccines by Q3 2021. These vaccines are Sputnik V vaccine (in collaboration with Dr. Reddy’s), Johnson & Johnson vaccine (in collaboration with Biological E), Novavax vaccine (in collaboration with Serum India), Zydus Cadila’s vaccine, and Bharat Biotech’s Intranasal Vaccine. Safety and efficacy are the Union government’s primary concerns while granting emergency use authorization (EUA) to any COVID-19 vaccine in the country.”

The Government is making all exertions to hasten the progress without cutting any corners in research, development, and clinical trial stages. The government is taking all steps to augment vaccine production and availability in India.

The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with healthcare workers (HCWs) getting inoculated and vaccination of frontline workers (FLWs) started from February 2. The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced from March 1 for those over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions. India launched vaccination for all people aged more than 45 from April 1.

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Joydev Mishra


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