New Delhi: Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in India and is likely to be available by next week, Dr VK Paul, Member-Health of Niti Aayog said in his media briefing on Thursday. The first batch has arrived and more will be coming from Russia. The announcement comes 12 days after the first shipment of 150,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine landed in Hyderabad from Russia.
Russia has been actively marketing their vaccine abroad despite the reasonably slow rollout at home and limited production capacities, according to media reports. Multiple nations have agreed the use of Sputnik V, and many signed deals with the Russian Direct Investment Fund that bankrolled the vaccine to get shipments of the jabs.
WHAT IS SPUTNIK V?
Sputnik V, which shares its name with the world’s first artificial satellite made by Russia, is an adenovirus-based vaccine (a modified version of a chimpanzee adenovirus). It is already being used by Moscow for mass vaccination. Russian President Vladmir Putin had said one of his daughters had already had two jabs of the vaccine. Sputnik V has also been approved in over 59 nations with a total population of over 1.5 billion.
Talking about the storage of Sputnik V, the vaccine is easy to store with the Russian Direct Investment Fund observing that the storage temperature of Sputnik V at 2-8 degree Celsius, means it can be stored in a normal refrigerator without any need to add in extra cold-chain infrastructure. Sputnik-V is the third COVID-19 vaccine to be deployed in India’s vaccination drive to control the unprecedented pandemic that has claimed many lives in the country.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Sputnik V is also called as Gam-Covid-Vac. This Russian vaccine is a mixture of two different adenoviruses (Ad26 and Ad5), which are the viruses that result common cold. These adenoviruses are combined with SARS-CoV-2 for the treatment, which stimuluses the body to create an immune response to it, according to medical journal The BMJ.
This method, using two doses of the same adenovirus, is used to create immune response against COVID-19. A New York Times (NYT) report revealed “The SARS-CoV-2 virus is studded with proteins that it uses to enter human cells. These so-called spike proteins make a tempting target for potential vaccines and treatments.”
HOW EFFECTIVE IT IS?
As per the The BMJ, “Interim phase III data were published in early February 2021. The randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trial included nearly 22,000 adults aged 18 years or older recruited through 25 hospitals and clinics in Moscow between 7 September and 24 November 2020. Each participant received either two doses of the vaccine, or a placebo, which were administered 21 days apart.”
Other reports on the study of this vaccine suggest that all the participants, who were studied, developed antibodies after the infection and that no severe opposing events were reported. Along with Sputnik V, Russia had also sanctioned the use of a one-shot Sputnik Light. The Sputnik Light is a single-dose vaccine with 80 percent efficacy, the Russian authorities have explained.
SPUTNIK V IN INDIA
During the media briefing on the COVID-19 situation in the country, Paul said, “I am happy to say that we're hopeful that it'll be available in the market next week. We're hopeful that the sale of the limited supply that has come from Russia, will begin next week.”
He also informed that the local production of this Russian vaccine will start in July and Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy's Laboratories will manufacture the vaccine in the country. Dr Reddy's top executives recently hinted that Sputnik V is likely to be sold at around Rs 750 per dose in India. Last month, the Indian regulator Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) gave a green signal for the use authorisation to Sputnik V amid sharp rise in the spread of COVID-19 infections.
Paul also added that, 216 crore doses of vaccines will be manufactured in India between August-December - for India.