- 15.6 crore doses of Sputnik V vaccine will be manufactured in India: Centre
- Sputnik V is expected to work against mutations
- It is very important to get vaccinated again COVID: GV Prasad
New Delhi: Russia’s Gam-COVID-Vac combined vector vaccine, popularly called Sputnik-V vaccine has been launched in the country on May 14 by Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical company Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Limited (DRL). The company carried out phase two and three clinical trials of the vaccine in the country. According to the company, the first consignment of the imported doses of Sputnik V arrived in the country on May 1 and has received regulatory clearance from the Central Drugs Laboratory, Kasauli on May 13. Dr Reddy’s Laboratories has administered the first dose of Sputnik V Coronavirus vaccine in Hyderabad today as part of a soft launch and will be eventually rolled out at 35 centres across India.
Russia’s Sputnik Light could also be the first single-dose vaccine to be used in India and Dr Reddy’s will hold talks with the government and the regulator in June for immediate launch, sources told NDTV.
Sputnik V has been developed by Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, Russia with support from the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) gave a regulatory nod to Sputnik-V under the emergency use authorisation last month. It is the third COVID-19 vaccine to be approved by DGCI. The country has been using two COVID-19 vaccines- Covaxin of Bharat Biotech and Covishield of Oxford-AstraZeneca manufactured by Serum Institute of India in Pune in its ongoing vaccination drive against COVID-19 which was initiated on January 16 this year.
Here is all you need to know about Sputnik V:
How Does Sputnik V Vaccine Work?
According to Dr K K Aggarwal, Former President, Indian Medical Association (IMA), Sputnik V vaccine is based on the same method as Covishield. He said that it uses two human adenoviruses that cause the common cold. So, the genetic code similar to coronavirus protein is put replacing the gene from the weakened virus, Dr Aggarwal explained, adding that the inserted element is safe for the body. It stimulates the immune system to generate response and produce antibodies that protect the body from the COVID-19 infection, he said.
When Can We Expect Sputnik V To Be Rolled Out In The Rest Of India?
In an interview with NDTV, Dr Kirill Dmitriev, CEO, Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) that makes investments in Russian companies and is marketing Sputnik V across the world said that RDIF plans to become a meaningful player in India’s vaccination drive. Dr Dmitriev added that RIDF has reached an agreement with five pharmaceutical companies in the country which will be manufacturing at least 5 crore doses per month initially.
The first batch of the vaccine is being made at Panacea Biotec Limited’s facility at Baddi in Himachal Pradesh from where it will be shipped to Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Russia for quality control.
BREAKING: RDIF and Panacea Biotec launch the production of Sputnik V in India. #India's @PanaceaBiotec now to produce 100 million doses of #SputnikV per year
— Sputnik V (@sputnikvaccine) May 24, 2021
How Will Sputnik V Be Priced In India?
An imported dose of Sputnik V vaccine costs Rs. 995.40 in India, according to Dr Reddy’s Laboratories. The price of the imported doses will include a five per cent GST (Goods and Services Tax) per dose. Doses of Sputnik V which are made in India are likely to be cheaper.
What Is The Efficacy Of Sputnik V And How Safe It Is?
The efficacy of Sputnik V was is 91.6 per cent in the interim analysis of phase 3 clinical trial, which included data on 19,866 volunteers in Russia, as per the peer-reviewed study recently published in the medical journal the Lancet. It also said that the vaccine provides 100 per cent protection against severe cases. There are no serious adverse events and no strong allergies caused by Sputnik V, it said.
How Effective Will Sputnik V Be Against The Variants That Are Being Reported In India?
GV Prasad, Managing Director of Dr Reddy’s Labs said to NDTV that all vaccines seem to have some level of efficacy against the mutations of the coronavirus. He said,
We do have a very early-stage data on that aspect, however, the important thing is, even if the mutant is there, and if you are vaccinated, the symptoms are relatively mild. Being vaccinated is very important, I think like the seasonal flu, we will see booster shots tailored for mutants every season. And eventually, the pattern will establish but at this point, it is a bit too early to speculate on that.
Sputnik V Is Also A Two Dose Vaccine Like Covishield And Covaxin But Uses Two Different Formulae
According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), the vaccine is to be administered intramuscularly in two doses of 0.5 ml each with an interval of 21 days. The vaccines use two different formulae for each dose (Day 0: Formula I and Day 21: Formula II) which are not interchangeable, the union ministry said.
Sputnik V Can Be Stored In A Conventional Refrigerator
RDIF said that the storage temperature of Sputnik V at -18 degree Celsius in its liquid form. However, it can be stored at 2-8 degree C in its freeze-dried form in a conventional refrigerator, making it easier to transport and store, as per Dr Dmitriev of RDIF.
On the question of challenges related to the storage of Sputnik V doses, Mr. Prasad said,
Sputnik V is stored at between -18 to -24 degrees. We have an existing measles vaccine supply chain in India, which is historically stored at -20 degrees Celsius so we are planning to leverage that. We have also augmented some of that cold chain and cold storage points at various PLACES across the country. So the cold storage and cold chain are well established now. And we have validated it, with multiple dry runs and we feel comfortable with that.
The Country Needs More Vaccines To Fill The Immunisation Gap: Experts
While talking to NDTV about the shortage of vaccines and the slow pace of the ongoing vaccination drive, Dr Aviral Roy, Consultant, Critical Care, Medica Superspecialty Hospital, Kolkata said that the country needs to revamp its vaccination efforts exponentially and regulatory approval of new vaccines is an important step towards it. He said,
The number of patients is increasing every day. The situation is already overwhelming and it is when we have not even reached the peak of the second wave. People need to understand that stopping the infection has to be their most important priority. Increasing the number of vaccines out there is another important thing that needs to be done. I am happy that we have three vaccines now and all three manufacturers have promised large quantities of doses to be manufactured in the coming days. Now, it is important that the government help these manufacturers get the required raw material and also ensure adequate stock of syringes, vials, packaging and cold chain to break the chain of transmission.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.