The central government informed the Lok Sabha on Friday that India is in touch with Russia for advancing the trials of COVID-19 vaccine — Sputnik V — in the country, according to news agency PTI. India is “exploring the possibility of cooperation between the two countries for advancing the COVID-19 vaccine in the country,” the news agency reported.
The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) informed that it had received information about one COVID-19 vaccine developed and approved in Russia, minister of state for health Ashwini Choubey informed the Lok Sabha.
Russia was the first country in the world to register a COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing. Developed by Gamaleya Research Institute and the Russian defence ministry, the vaccine is currently under the phase III trial of the vaccine, which involved more than 40,000 people at more than 45 medical centres around Russia, the TASS news agency reported
Earlier this week, Russian Direct Investment Fund inked a deal with Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories to conduct a clinical trial and distribution of Sputnik V in India. Under the agreement, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund will supply 100 million doses of Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine to Indian drug maker. Both the trials and supply deal depend on central drug regulator’s approval. If the trials are successful, the vaccine will be available in India as by the end of this year.
The government plans to use the universal immunisation programme mechanism for distribution of COVID-19 vaccines after they receive approval from the drug regulator, union health minister Harsh Vardhan said in a statement to the Lok Sabha on Friday.
“Once available, the coronavirus vaccine distribution follows the same route as for the current practice of vaccines distribution under Universal Immunization Program (UIP),” Vardhan said in a written statement.
Currently, there are three COVID-19 vaccine candidates that are in human trials in India. “Nationally, nearly 30 vaccine candidates are under development, by both industry and academia. These vaccines are in different stages of pre-clinical and clinical development of which three candidates are in advanced stage of Phase I/II/III trials and four are in advanced pre-clinical development stage,” Vardhan said.
How safe is Sputnik V?
Russia health ministry claimed that the coronavirus vaccine offers lasting immunity from the virus. The vaccine is expected to provide immunity from the coronavirus for up to two years, according to health ministry.
Early results from trials of Russia’s potential coronavirus vaccine show no major negative side effects, a study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet revealed.
“The two 42-day trials – including 38 healthy adults each – did not find any serious adverse effects among participants, and confirmed that the vaccine candidates elicit an antibody response,” the study’s authors wrote.
“The platform of human adenoviral vectors, which is the core of the Russian vaccine, has been tested in more than 250 clinical studies over decades, and it has been found safe with no potential negative long-term consequences.” official said.