The government on Monday approved Sputnik-V, the vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) developed by Russia. This is the third vaccine approved by India after Covishield and Covaxin.
Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, the Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical company, last week sought the government’s approval for the vaccine to be used in India. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) partnered with Dr Reddy’s in September 2020 to conduct clinical trials of Sputnik V in India. The Russian vaccine has an efficacy of 91.6% and is conducting its Phase III clinical trials in the UAE, India, Venezuela and Belarus, according to the Sputnik-V’s website.
Along with Dr Reddy’s the RDIF partnered with Virchow Biotech Private Limited in March to produce up to 200 million doses per year of Sputnik V in India, news agency PTI reported. It has also partnered with Stelis Biopharma Pvt Ltd and Panacea Biotec earlier in April as well to produce 200 million and 100 million doses per year of Sputnik V in the country.
Sputnik-V claims that it is an affordable vaccine and can be “stored at a temperature of +2 to +8°C “. It says that this aspect of Sputnik-V allows for easy distribution of the vaccine in hard-to-reach regions across the globe.
The move to approve Gam-COVID-Vac by the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) comes as India faces a surge in Covid-19 cases across the nation with Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Kerala witnessing surge in their daily caseload. India launched its vaccination drive on January 16 with Covexin of Bharat Biotech and Covishield of Oxford-AstraZeneca, being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India in Pune, after they were granted emergency use approval on January 1 and January 3 respectively.