- Sputnik vaccine has an effectiveness of 91.6 per cent
- The vaccine costs less than $10 for each shot in international markets
- It is manufactured in India by Dr Reddy’s
The use of Russia’s Covid vaccine Sputnik-V in India will be discussed by a committee of experts today in the middle of a record spike in virus cases in the country. The vaccine, manufactured in India by Dr Reddy’s, has an effectiveness of 91.6 per cent, highest after the Moderna and Pfizer shots.
The Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Indian drug regulator will meet later today to consider granting emergency use approval to Sputnik V. In its last meeting on April 1, the committee had asked Dr Reddy’s to submit data on how the shot activates the body’s immune response against the coronavirus.
The panel had also asked unblinded data of all the serious adverse events – meaning that subjects would know which shot was administered to them, the vaccine or a placebo. A comparative analysis of phase III data generated on the Indian and Russian studies at various times was also sought.
Dr Reddy’s had applied on February 19 for emergency use of Sputnik-V, which is in Phase 3 of clinical trials in India, the UAE, Venezuela and Belarus.
In India, Sputnik-V trials are on for around 1,600 people between 18 and 99.
Sputnik-V, named after the first Soviet Space satellite, works on the principle of a weakened Covid virus delivering parts of a pathogen that triggers an immune response in the body.
The two-dose vaccine, developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute, costs less than $10 for each shot in international markets.
The dry form of the vaccine can be stored at 2 to 8 degrees.
If approved, this will be the third vaccine to be used in India after Serum Institute of India’s Covishield – developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca – and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.
The experts are meeting on a day India recorded 1,68,912 new Covid cases in 24 hours, the sixth record rise in seven days, pushing the country’s caseload to over 1.35 crore.
Government officials have reportedly said five more vaccines will be in use in India by October.