India approves Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine for use
Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for emergency use in India amid rising cases
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on Monday approved Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V for restricted emergency use in the country. This development has come as India overtakes Brazil to become the world’s second-worst Coronavirus-hit country.
Manufactured in India by leading pharmaceutical company Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Sputnik V is the third Coronavirus vaccine to be approved by the drug regulator, after Covishield (Serum Institute of India) and Covaxin (Bharat Biotech). Funded by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Sputnik V vaccine is developed by Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow.
As per a statement issued by RDIF, India is the 60th country globally to allow the use of the COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. Reportedly, the Russian sovereign wealth fund has signed deals with five pharmaceutical firms in India (Hetero Biopharma, Stelis Biopharma, Gland Pharma, Virchow Biotech, and Panacea Biotec) in order to domestically produce 850 million Sputnik V vaccine doses annually.
According to data published in The Lancet, the vaccine has an efficacy of 91.6 percent, with two shots given 21 days apart. RDIF has underlined that Sputnik V provides immunity to fight the disease with a longer duration compared to vaccines using the same delivery mechanisms for both shots.
Responding to the development, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Co-chairman and Managing Director G V Prasad has said that the vaccine will enable the company to contribute to the country’s efforts to inoculate the maximum number of people against the disease. Significantly, Dr Reddy’s partnered with /the RDIF last September to conduct the vaccine trials.
RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev also issued a statement, noting that more than 850 million Sputnik V vaccine doses will be produced in India every year in order to vaccinate more than 425 million people around the world
“India is a vaccine-manufacturing hub and our strategic partner for production of Sputnik V. RDIF has created partnerships with a number of India’s leading pharmaceutical companies for production of Sputnik V which will provide for both vaccination of the population in India and global distribution of the Russian vaccine,” Dmitriev added.
The Indian government launched the world’s largest vaccination drive on January 16 with the aim of inoculating 1.3 billion people in the country against the disease. As of April 12, the health authorities have administered more than 100 million COVID-19 doses in the country – the fastest in the world. A statement issued by the Union Health Ministry confirmed that India achieved the feat in 85 days, while the US took 89 days and China took 102 days to administer 100 million doses. From April 1, the Centre encouraged everyone aged over 45 to receive the doses at specified vaccination centres and hospitals to expand the national inoculation drive.