Five things to know about India’s third Covid-19 vaccine

The Sputnik V vaccine developed by Russia against Covid-19 received approval from India on Monday for its emergency use under certain conditions. The decision was made by the Subject Matter Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Organization for the Control of Pharmaceutical Standards (CDSCO) at a time when the country is witnessing a record increase in cases of infection. India is currently manufacturing two vaccines – Covishield from the Indian Serum Institute in Pune, developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca and Covaxin from Bharat Biotech, based in Hyderabad. If approved by India’s Comptroller General of Medicines (DCGI), Sputnik V will become the third vaccine to be used in the country.

The development comes as many states report vaccine shortages in the country.

Previously, government sources reported that by the end of the third quarter of this year, India would receive Covid-19 vaccines from five additional manufacturers.

Here are five things to know about the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine:

1. For the manufacture of vaccine doses, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has partnered with a number of Indian pharmaceutical companies, including Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, Hetero Biopharma, Gland Pharma, Stelis Biopharma and Vichrow Biotech, based in Hyderabad.

2. Russia registered Sputnik V in August last year, long before large-scale clinical trials, which had been criticized by several experts for its fast-track process. However, later studies showed the vaccine to be both safe and effective in preventing Covd-19 infection.

3. According to reports, the vaccine is based on human adenoviral vectors, which cause colds. It uses two different vectors for the two shots during an inoculation, which gives longer immunity.

4. Sputnik-V, developed by the Russia-based Gamaleya Institute, demonstrated an efficacy rate of 91.6% in the interim analysis of the phase 3 clinical trial, which included data from 19,866 volunteers in Russia.

5. The two-dose vaccine costs less than $ 10 for each injection in global markets. Its dry form can be stored at a temperature of 2-8 degrees.

Sputnik V is expected to provide a big boost in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, with a production capacity of 850 million doses in the country.

Meanwhile, India on Monday recorded 1,68,912 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, the sixth record increase in seven days, pushing the country’s caseload to over 1.35 crore.

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