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Sputnik V emergency use | India to discuss approval of Russian vaccine: Report

The two-dose Sputnik V vaccine has demonstrated the efficacy of 91.6 percent in age groups 18 and older.

March 23, 2021 / 10:21 AM IST
Sputnik V is priced at less than $10 per shot, making it one of the most affordable vaccines. (Image: Reuters)

Sputnik V is priced at less than $10 per shot, making it one of the most affordable vaccines. (Image: Reuters)

The government panel on COVID-19 vaccines is likely to discuss emergency use authorisation application of Russian vaccine Sputnik V this week. If approved, Sputnik V will be the third vaccine to get approval for use in India. The government has so far approved AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine and Bharat Biotech's Covishield.

The Subject Expert Committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) is likely to meet sometime this week to consider the emergency use application of the Sputnik V, Hindustan Times reported, citing officials.

Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.

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Sputnik V has been developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology. It became the world's first registered COVID-19 vaccine based on the human adenoviral vector platform.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

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.

How many types of vaccines are there?

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.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

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.

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Sputnik V is priced at less than $10 per shot, making it one of the most affordable vaccines. According to the findings, the two-dose vaccine has demonstrated the efficacy of 91.6 percent in age groups 18 and older.

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"The committee looking into COVID-related application could convene any time this week," an official told the newspaper.

Dr Reddy's Laboratories Ltd, which has distribution rights in India, sought emergency-use approval for the vaccine in February, but the committee experts asked for safety and immunogenicity data from Sputnik V’s phase II/III trials being conducted in India.

Mauritius became the latest country to grant approval to vaccines on March 22. The vaccine has now received approval from 55 countries, including Russia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Argentina and Myanmar.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), has so far tied up with five India-based pharma companies for the production of the vaccine. The latest of these deals was announced on March 23.

Also read: Why govt recommends increasing interval between the first and second dose of Covishield

RDIF sovereign wealth fund said it had reached an agreement with Virchow Biotech to produce up to 200 million doses a year of the Sputnik V vaccine in India. RDIF said the transfer of technology needed to produce the vaccine would be completed in the second quarter of the year.

On March 19, RDIF and India's Stelis Biopharma said they have partnered to produce and supply a minimum of 200 million doses of the Sputnik V.

RDIF has signed similar deals with Indian pharmaceutical firms Dr Reddy's Laboratories, Gland Pharma and Hetero.

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first published: Mar 23, 2021 10:21 am