On Friday, Hyderabad based pharma company Dr. Reddy’s administered the first imported shot of Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19. Further, the company also announced that the imported lot of the vaccines will cost Rs. 995.40 per vaccine. This makes Sputnik V the third vaccine in India’s vaccine basket against COVID-19 after Covishield (produced by Serum Institute) and Covaxin (produced by Bharat Biotech).
Earlier in April it was revealed that India’s expert panel on COVID-19 – SEC gave an approval to Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories’ application which sought an emergency use authorization for the Russia based COVID-19 vaccine. First approved in Russia for emergency use in August last year, Sputnik V is developed by the collaborative efforts of Russian Defence Ministry and Gamaleya Research Institute.
In a silver lining on the pandemic sized cloud India has above it, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories administered the first dose of its Sputnik V that reached India earlier. The vaccination was part of Sputnik V’s soft launch in Hyderabad by Dr. Reddy’s which will in the near future be manufacturing the vaccine.
The Hyderabad based pharmaceutical company said that it has been working with 6 other vaccine manufacturers in India so that regulatory requirements will be fulfilled and states will receive the vaccines timely.
In the statement, Dr. Reddy’s also said that-
“Further consignments of imported doses are expected over the upcoming months. Subsequently, supply of Sputnik V vaccine will commence from Indian manufacturing partners.”
"Today is a historical day for #India 🇮🇳 and #Russia 🇷🇺 Russia is standing together with India in this fight against COVID-19" – RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev on the start of #SputnikV vaccination in India pic.twitter.com/NLDhnQe78c
— Sputnik V (@sputnikvaccine) May 14, 2021
Earlier it was revealed that the Russia based vaccine will be available in the market as early as next week. Several states such as Maharashtra, Delhi, and more have already floated tenders for the procurement of the vaccines.
15.6 crore Sputnik V doses to be produced by July
Dr. V.K. Paul, Chairman of the NITI Aayog and chairman of National Expert Committee on Vaccine Administration said that he was hopeful that limited supply of the vaccine will start next week. He also said that the country will receive more shipments of the vaccine from Russia and Dr. Reddy’s will start with the production in July. He said that according to the estimation, as many as 15.6 crore doses will be manufactured in the said period.
Sputnik V efficacy compared to Covishield and Covaxin
It should be noted that Sputnik V currently has more efficacy than both Covishield and Covaxin. The efficacy of the vaccine is 91.6% while Covaxin’s efficacy is over 81% effective and Covishield’s efficacy is registered at 70.4% and can be pushed to 90% if the doses are spread between multiple weeks. Russia’s Sputnik is the among the 3 vaccines in the world with high efficacy rate, the other two being Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
2 billion COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021, 5 new vaccines in pipeline
Yesterday, NITI Aayog’s Dr. V.K. Paul also revealed that India will be producing a minimum of 2 billion COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021. This will be made possible by the ramp up of Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech, along with India increasing the vaccines in its vaccine basked that currently has 3 vaccines.
The government’s tentative list shows that 8 vaccines are currently in India’s vaccine basket (including Covishield, Sputnik V & Covaxin). Apart from these vaccines, government will be adding 5 more vaccines so that India can be vaccinated on an even larger level.
These vaccines include
1) Bio E’s Subunit: The Bio E’s Subunit vaccine is currently in the 3rd phase of its clinical trial. According to Dr. Paul, the first two clinical trials of the vaccines showed that the vaccine was promising and safe. Dr. Paul also said that the govt will be hoping to procure 30 crores of this vaccine between August and December.
2) Zydus Cadila’s Vaccine: The Zydus Cadila’s COVID-19 vaccine is currently in the last phase of its Phase 3 trial and may soon apply for the liscence. Unlike most COVID-19 vaccines, this vaccine is a 3-dose vaccine.
3) SII’s Covovax: Covovax will be brought to India by the collaborative efforts of US’ Novavax and Pune’s Serum Institiute which is already producing Covishield at a mass level.
4) Bharat Biotech’s Intranasal vaccine: The Bharat Biotech’s intranasal vaccine will be the country’s first needle-less vaccine. While all the other vaccines are injected in the patients, the intranasal vaccine will be administered by spraying the vaccine content into the beneficiary’s nostrils. According to Dr. Paul, the intranasal vaccine is in the initial trial phases.
5) Gennova’s mRNA vaccine HGCO19: The HGCO19 is an mRNA vaccine much like Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that are also mRNA ones. The Pune based pharmaceutical company has created the vaccine in collaboration with HDT Biotech, a US based pharmaceutical firm.