Fortis Memorial Research Institute in Gurugram has launched a trial run of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine for the public, news agency ANI reported on June 27.
The made-in-Russia jab was the third vaccine to be granted regulatory clearance in India, in April this year. The vaccine's soft-launched was initiated in May by pharmaceutical firm Dr Reddy's Laboratories.
The two doses of Sputnik V are required to be administered at an interval of 21 days. Both the doses are different and not interchangeable.
The reports of public trial of Sputnik V, being launched at Fortis Memorial facility in Gurugram, came shortly after several hospitals in Delhi-NCR claimed that the vaccine's rollout has been further delayed.
"We do not have clarity on the dates of the vaccine roll-out," news agency PTI quoted a spokesman of Apollo Hospitals as saying. An official of Madhukar Rainbow Children's Hospital also said that the facility has also not received Sputnik V doses so far from Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy's Laboratories, the marketing partner for the vaccine in the country.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Notably, Sputnik V has been developed by Russia's Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) is marketing it globally.
Dr Reddy's Laboratories has been importing the shots from Russia. Over a period of time, the vaccine is also going to be manufactured in India. The central government has fixed the price of the vaccine at Rs 1,145 per dose.
According to Gamaleya and the RDIF, Sputnik V has demonstrated an efficacy rate of 92 percent.
(With PTI inputs)