The Russian vaccine Sputnik-V is set to join the inoculation drive against COVID-19 in India along with already approved Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech and Covidshield, developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
What Is Sputnik-V?
Sputnik-V is a vaccine developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology to protect against COVID-19. It had become the first COVID-19 vaccine to be authorized.
Sputnik-V has been approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) for emergency use and it is all set to make its debut in the private hospitals of India. Before India, more than 60 countries have approved this vaccine for emergency use.
India has signed a huge consignment deal with Russia and it is also looking forward to producing 15.6 crore doses of the Russian COVID vaccine.
The first consignment of 1.5 lakh doses of imported Sputnik-V vaccine arrived in India on the 1st of May.
The first dose of this vaccine has been administered in Hyderabad as a part of a soft launch by Dr. Reddy Laboratories, which is manufacturing this vaccine in India.
The media sources have reported that the cost of the vaccine is set at Rs. 995 per dose. Although, the price will be much cheaper when the doses will be produced in India.
How Effective Is The vaccine?
According to an article published in Lancet medical journal, Sputnik-V has displayed an efficacy of 91.6% without any unusual side effects.
Although it has been successfully approved by more than 60 countries of the world, it is still being reviewed by the European Union under the European Medicines Agency.
Based on the analysis report published in The Lancet medical journal, the common side effects of the Sputnik-V vaccine are
- Flu-like illness
- Injection-site reaction
Although, these similar effects have been witnessed after administering the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, as confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a trusted source.
Concerns And Criticism
International experts and scientists have raised concerns over the efficacy of the vaccines stating that the data reported in The Lancet medical journal might have been manipulated.
The scientists have responded with skepticism over the reliability of this vaccine by pointing out that Russia has not made primary data available to an independent testing authority.
Anvisa, the health regulatory body of Brazil had also rejected the import of Sputnik-V as a COVID-19 vaccine, highlighting that the vaccine shows the presence of a replicating virus i.e adenovirus, which can lead to inherent risks. It also cited lack of information as one of the reasons for the vaccine’s rejection.
To which the Russian Direct Investment Fund had responded that “no replication-competent adenoviruses were ever found in any of the Sputnik-V vaccine batches produced”. It also pointed out that Anvisa’s decision of rejecting the vaccine was “of a political nature and has nothing to do with the regulator’s access to information or science”.
India has begun its vaccination drive for people aged above 18 years and has already inoculated more than 17 crore people. Russian imported Sputnik-V vaccine is going to be administered from this week to control the escalating spread of COVID-19 which has resulted in more than 4,000 deaths being recorded on an average every day.
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