Drugs Controller General Of India (DCGI) has granted final permission for the restricted and emergency use of the Russian Covid-19 vaccine “Sputnik V” on specific terms and conditions, which paves the way for the availability of a third vaccine in the country. The vaccine, which was first approved in Russia on August 11 last year, is now the third available vaccine in India. Despite its skepticism, now many experts are convinced by the effectiveness of Sputnik V with positive results against Coronavirus. The Sputnik vaccine in India is easy to note with a temperature of 2-8 degrees and can be stored in a conventional refrigerator.
With the launch of Sputnik in India, the vaccination drive of the country is expected to ramp up and could help in controlling the raging pandemic in the country, which has already claimed upto 1.70 lakhs across the whole country. Earlier, DCGI had given approval for the emergency use of two COVID-19 vaccines named Covaxin of Bharat Biotech and Covishield of Oxford-AstraZeneca manufactured by Serum Institute of India, Pune.
The Russian vaccine has been approved for emergency usage in India because of the results from the clinical trials in Russia, which gave positive outcomes and also from the data concluded from the Phase III local clinical trials in partnership with Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories. According to the news agencies, about ten crores of Sputnik V vaccine will be imported from Russia to India for emergency use in the next 6-7 months. Since the availability of Sputnik in India has been highlighted, there are plenty of questions that are wandering in our minds, so here’s everything about the Russian vaccine you might want to know.
Why is The Vaccine Named Sputnik V?
The “Sputnik V” vaccine of Russia was named after Sputnik 1, which is the world’s first artificial earth satellite launched by the Soviet Union on October 4. 1957. The word Sputnik is a Russian word for satellite when interpreted in an astronomical context. The V in the name refers to the word “Vaccine” and is not the roman numeral for five.
Who Developed the Sputnik V Vaccine?
The Russian vaccine Sputnik V is developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, a medical research institute which is headquartered in Moscow. The whole development process of the vaccine is backed up by the Russian Direct Investment Fund and was registered under the Russian health ministry under the name of Gam-COVID- Vac. While Sputnik vaccine in India, being marketed by Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, has also helped in running small trials for the drug in the country to test its efficiency and safety to generate results associated with the immune response COVID-19.
How does the Sputnik V Vaccine Work?
Since the time Sputnik In India has been launched, there are many speculations about its working. So here’s how the vaccine actually works. The Sputnik V vaccine is an adenovirus viral vector vaccine that uses a modified virus that can replicate itself. This modulated virus has been inserted with a spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 to elicit an immune response in the body.
According to the health ministry of Russia, Sputnik V is a unique vaccine because, unlike other vector based vaccines, Sputnik V is a two vector vaccine which means it uses two different types of adenovirus vectors rAD26 for the first shot of vaccine and rAD5 for the second dose for greater efficiency. Both the vaccine shorts will be given to the patient with a gap of three weeks.
How Effective is the Sputnik Vaccine?
The Russian COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, has been found about 91.6% efficient in the phase-III clinical trials. The results of the vaccine have been published in the top medical journal Lancet. The vaccine provides active immunization to prevent COVID-19 in individuals who are 18 and above, and it is to be administered intramuscularly. The vaccine is only effective if both the doses of Sputnik V of 0.5 ml each with a gap of 21 days are administered in the individual.
The efficacy trial of the vaccine was carried out in about 25 hospitals in Russia on 21 997 adults, where all the adults received two doses of the vaccine within a gap of 21 days in November and September. In the result analysis, the data concluded about 19,866 volunteers who received the first and second jabs of the vaccine showed an efficacy of 91.6%. And in a sub-group of 60 plus population, the efficacy of the Sputnik V vaccine was 91.8%.
Does Sputnik V Work against mutant variants of COVID-19?
Since the availability of Sputnik in India, people are wondering if it works on UK variants or on the Indian variant. A Russian trial was also organized in Russia to check the effectiveness of revaccination with Sputnik V, short of protecting against the new mutations of the Coronavirus, produced good and very strong results according to the researchers.
Also, in January, the prime minister, Vladimir Putin, ordered a review by March 15 of the Russian-produced vaccines to check their effectiveness against the new variants which were spreading in different parts of the world. A recent study which Gamaleya Centre In Russia carried out showed that the revaccination with the Sputnik V vaccine was working very well against the new mutations of the Coronavirus, including the deadly UK strain.
However, the studies also showed that it was a little less effective against the South African variant. However, it still does a better job than any other vaccines for all the mutations of Coronavirus.
Initial Criticism Of Sputnik V
Sputnik V was hugely surrounded by lots of controversies when Russia became the first country to administer a vaccine for COVID-19 when lots of pharma companies were still working on the vaccines. The vaccine race was also no more than a cold war space which was being closely monitored on a global level.
Many scientists and precipitated in the discussions that the early approval of the vaccine was not justified by Russia’s medical professionals or health ministry. Us infectious disease expert was also quite doubtful about the Russian vaccine and its early approval just after the phase one clinical trials.
However, even with a lot of speculation, wandering around was put to rest in February 2021, when an interim analysis of the trial was published in The Lancet journal, which indicated the efficacy of 91.6% without unusual side effects in the individuals.
Availability of Sputnik in India
With eagerness and curiosity regarding the most popular and first launched Russian vaccine Sputnik, here are few key things about the Sputnik V vaccination in India that can clear all your doubts about taking the job.
Who Will Manufacture Sputnik V in India?
The vaccine has been developed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). The organization has agreements with Hetero Biopharma, India’s Gland Pharma, Panacea Biotec, Virchow Biotech and Stelis Biopharma; all these Pharma companies will produce upto 850 million doses per year in India.
What will be the Price of Sputnik V in India?
The imported Sputnik vaccine India price would cost around Rs 995 per dose in India. However, the company is closely working with other pharma companies to ramp up made-in-India Sputnik V vaccines. As the production will be in India, the cost might be reduced, which could be easily affordable for individuals of all human groups. Furthermore, imported doses of Sputnik vaccines are expected to reach India by the upcoming months and will reach the Sputnik vaccine centers India very soon.
The first dose of the vaccine was administered in Hyderabad last Friday with a soft launch of Sputnik V In India under Dr. Reddy’s laboratory. But one thing which has been assured is that the cost of the vaccine won’t exceed 1,200 per dose. However, the hospitals might add additional transport costs ranging from Rs 150 to Rs 200 per dose.
Sputnik V Vaccination Production in India
To increase the Russian vaccine Sputnik availability in India, the country will begin its production of Sputnik V in August. The country is expected to produce about 850 million doses of the vaccine in the coming year. As India received the first consignment of 1.5 lakh doses on May 1, the second consignment with 5 million Russian vaccine doses is expected to reach by may end. From June, the companies are expected to increase the production to 5 million consignments from Russia and the made-in-India Sputnik V vaccines production is expected to begin in August.
Several medium and small-sized hospitals all over India may start administering the doses of Russian-made Sputnik Vaccine in India from next month onwards. The vaccines will reach Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Pune, Jaipur, and Coaching will receive the first stocks of Russian vaccine by June. With an alarming rise in Coronavirus cases in India, vaccination is the only effective tool that can help in the battle against COVID-19, and the Russian vaccine is coming as another fighting tool to help.
Countries that have Approved Sputnik V until now
India is the 60th country that has approved the emergency authorization use of Sputnik vaccines in India to ramp up vaccination during such a harsh time of COVID-19 in India. Apart from India, Sputnik has been approved in 59 other countries. The list includes Iran, Republic of Guinea, Tunisia, Armenia, Cameroon, Seychelles, Mauritius, Vietnam, Antigua, Armenia, Morocco, Republic of Congo, North Macedonia, Barbuda, Mali, Panama, Mexico, Nicaragua, Republika Srpska, Bahrain and many more countries.
Sputnik V Versus Covishield/ Covaxin
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, commonly known as Covishield in India, is also made from the same philosophy from which the Russian vaccine is made. It is made from a weakened version of a common cold virus from chimpanzees and has been modified.
It looks more like Coronavirus but it can’t cause any illness.
On the other hand, the Covaxin is an inactivated vaccine made up of killed coronaviruses which Bharat Biotech used as a sample of the Coronavirus isolated by India’s National Institute of Virology. When the vaccine is administered, the immune cells can still recognize the dead virus promoting the immune system to make bodies against the pandemic virus.
Important Things To Note Before Taking Sputnik V Jab In India
- The Sputnik vaccine centers in India can store the vaccines at a temperature between 2-8 degrees Celsius, which is a standard fridge temperature that makes it quite easier to transport and store.
- Sputnik V is a two-dose vaccine that should be administered within a gap of 21 days. Both doses of the Russian vaccine are different from each other, so to get the full efficacy of the vaccine, it is important to get both doses.
- Sputnik V has two different versions of the vaccine for both the first and second doses.
- Both the doses of the Russian vaccine use spike protein but with different vectors of a neutralized virus that carries spike protein to the body.
- The idea behind using two different vectors is to boost the immune system even more than using the same version with much more lasting immunity and protection from Coronavirus.
- Sputnik vaccine India has proven to be effective with no major side effects or reactions linked to it.
- Some side effects from the vaccine are expected but very usual and mild symptoms, including sore arm, tiredness and slight high body temperature.
- There were no deaths or serious illnesses which were reported from the vaccinated group linked to the jab.
What’s Next for Sputnik V?
The Russian vaccine Sputnik V has already been approved for use and mass distribution in more than 50 countries, including Belarus, Hungary, Argentina, Pakistan, UAE and Serbia, and Russia. The Russian direct investment fund has also signed several deals with many pharma companies to begin the production of upto 750 million doses of Sputnik V with six domestic firms in India. As India continues to fight with the deadly second wave of Coronavirus, this comes as good news for India as Sputnik V adds to the list of vaccines by becoming the third available vaccine in India.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Relating to Sputnik Vaccine
Q: What will be the price of Sputnik V in India?
Ans: Currently, the fixed price of the vaccine has not been provided by the company and not from the government. However, it will be available at the best lowest price.
Q: Will the vaccine cost be different for the centre, state and public?
Ans: The imported dose of Sputnik vaccine in India will be priced uniformly for everyone at Rs 995, including tax. However, the prices made in India Sputnik Vaccines will be lowered down and have not been decided yet.
Q: Can I book slots for Sputnik V on CoWIN app?
Ans: Yes, the vaccine has now been listed on the Cowin app and the Aarogya Setu app as the third option, so you can book your slot according to your preference.
Q: Where will Sputnik V be available in India?
Ans: The vaccine will be available in the first 35 cities in India as it can only be stored as minus 18 degrees Celsius, according to Dr. Reddy’s laboratories.
Q: Is Sputnik V vaccine effective?
Ans: According to the data, the Russian vaccine Sputnik V vaccine efficacy is 91.6 %, and it has been taken by more than two crore people in more than 50 countries.
Q: Is the Sputnik V vaccine free of cost in India?
Ans: No, the vaccine is not free in India and is being administered at a universal cost of Rs 995, including taxes per dose.
Q: How many shots of Sputnik V are required?
Ans: Sputnik V uses two different vectors in two different shots, so to complete the full course of the Sputnik vaccine, you have to take both the jabs at a gap of 21 days to get full efficacy.