Russia took the entire world by surprise when President Vladimir Putin announced that they have developed a vaccine and it’s ready for civilian use. 

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), the process of development of vaccines can normally take up to 15 years. Around 100 potential vaccines are in development stages and only 6 have reached human clinical trials (Phase 3 according to WHO guidelines).  

There are a lot of speculations around the vaccine named after the launch of the first satellite by the Soviet Union in 1957. Here’s all you need to know about it:

Russia’s vaccine Sputnik V

The President announced that the vaccine is ready to use and will be a huge step towards helping more than 20 million people who got infected with the coronavirus. 

According to a BBC report, Putin claimed that the vaccine has passed all requirements to be declared safe and sound for the masses, even though it has been in human trials for just 2 months.

The President reassured the public by telling that one of his daughters has also been in the trials of Sputnik V and has a good number of antibodies. 

What all do you need to know about the world’s first registered vaccine?

The vaccine was produced in Russia’s Gamaleya National Research Centre and it was registered as the world’s first vaccine to complete the clinical trials on August 11. 

The vaccine is based on Adenovirus viral vector vaccine and it is combined with a protein of SARS CoV-2 virus to be injected in the immune system. The protein induced in the vaccine cannot reproduce or multiply which is why it won’t be harmful. Only the particles which can reproduce are alive and can’t cause damage to the human body.

This was stated by the Director of the Gamaleya institute, Alexander Gintsburg, in an interview with Sputnik News Agency.

Due to the use of the weakened virus in the vaccine, it has been criticised by many since the news broke out.

How soon will it be available in Indian markets? 

The Director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Randeep Guleria, one of the most revered medical experts in India, cited his concerns over the vaccine in an interview on India Today.

The director expressed his concerns over the reliability and safety of the vaccine. 

He also mentioned that India has a good capacity for mass production of the vaccine once it’s assured that the vaccine meets all the standards and requirements.

The Indian Government has also created a National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration, which will meet tomorrow for further discussions on the vaccine. The group will also coordinate with state governments and vaccine manufacturers throughout India, according to NDTV.

However, it is best to assume immediate availability won’t be there considering only a few were produced in trial stages but mass production will probably begin in September in Russia.

According to a report by The Indian Express, the vaccine won’t be available outside Russia.

What are the reasons for the delay in availability?

Questions were raised on the safety of the vaccine because of the fast-track approach, but here is a list of reasons that can cause a delay in availability in India.

Manufacturing capacity:

Russia has already received requests for 1 billion doses of the vaccine from various countries. But the capacity of the medical facilities in Russia is limited to 1.5 million doses a year and it hasn’t reached any concrete agreements with any country as of now, as per a report by Indian Express.

Deployment of the vaccine to India:

Manufacturing in huge numbers is only the first obstacle that will be followed by regulatory procedures after the vaccines are dispatched to India. After the vaccines will arrive in India, it will again be tested. No final agreements regarding the same have been made yet.

The Serum Institute of India is in Phase-3 trials of Oxford’s vaccine named Covishield and it should be available by the end of the year for the masses.

The institute is in an international partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who plan to deliver to many low and middle-income countries all over the world, including India. This is the only vaccine in India in Phase 3 trials right now along with 2 indigenous vaccines in the race. 

Read More: How Reliable Is This Russian & American COVID-19 Vaccine Race Aimed At August Release?

Human trials to take place again in India:

Just like the Oxford vaccine, the Russian vaccine will need to go through 2-3 months of human trials in India for safety reasons.

No application regarding the same has been approved till now. This is a major reason as to why it will take time to be made available to the general public of India.

Might not suit the entire population:

The vaccine needs to go through trials on the general public and right now only administered patients were given the vaccine, which is why it is being questioned a lot. The late phase human trials are important because vaccines bring out different reactions in different population groups.

Any other vaccine these days are given to children only, but the coronavirus vaccine will need to be administered on different population groups of all ages. Hurrying the late phase human trials could intensify the situation.

Will the vaccine be expensive?

A press company of Russia, TASS, reported that the government will incur all costs for the production of the vaccine and will make it free of cost. However, no details regarding the price of the vaccine outside of Russia were given. 

On August 4, it was reported that over 20 countries are in talks with Russia for Sputnik V and 5 are actively working with them to produce the vaccine according to the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). India is among the 20 countries collaborating with Russia for the production of the vaccine.

What are the reactions and safety concerns cited around the world?

Many medical experts were sceptical of the vaccine’s reliability and the possibility of the antibodies present in the vaccine intensifying the disease.

Even a WHO spokesperson, Christian Lindmeier, said it can be exciting to claim to have found something but having a vaccine that works well through all the stages requires great precision and time. 

The quick approach is questionable since it takes months before human trials are completed. The Gamaleya Institute has not divulged any information regarding the safety data of the vaccine’s trials so there is no way to confirm and verify the reliability of the vaccine through other individual scientists.

The United Kingdom even denied using the vaccine in such early phases of trials. Seeing the scepticism around the vaccine, it might not be available outside of Russia soon. 

Due to the induced antibodies of SARS-CoV- 2, scientists are questioning the effectiveness of the rushed vaccine for the general public. 

It can be said that the vaccine’s availability in India might take time considering the scepticism raised. However, the news gives reassurance to millions of people worried around the world about vaccines that will be available to them soon.

Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: BBC, CNN, Times of India, Indian Express

Find Blogger at: @divijajainn

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