Russia's Sputnik V has been cleared by India's drug regulator making it the third vaccine to be the approved for emergency use in the country against the deadly coronavirus. The vaccine is named after the first Soviet space satellite Sputnik; the V in its name however stands for the alphabet 'v' (for vaccine) and not the Roman numerical.
The approval from the Drugs Controller General of India or DCGI comes after the ravaging pandemic continues to grip the country leading to stricter rules and states reporting vaccine shortages.
Here is all you need to know about the Sputnik V vaccine:
How Sputnik V works
The Sputnik V is an adenoviral vector-based vaccine. It uses a weakened virus to stimulate an immune response much like Serum Institute of India's Covishield. "Vectors" are vehicles, which can induce a genetic material from another virus into a cell. The gene from adenovirus, which causes the infection, is removed while a gene with the code of a protein from another virus spike is inserted.
This inserted element is safe for the body but still helps the immune system to react and produce antibodies, which protect us from the infection. Human adenoviruses are considered as some of the easiest to engineer in this way and therefore they have become very popular as vectors.
Sputnik V dosage
Although the Sputnik V is a two-dose vaccine, it uses two different formulae for its two jabs - 21 days apart.
Apparently the two different formulae will boost the immune system more unlike the same formula used twice. It also gives longer lasting protection and is safe. The formulae are interchangeable during the dosage.
Sputnik V Efficacy
With an efficacy rate of 91.6 per cent, Sputnik V has the highest effectiveness after the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines of the United States. The vaccine is already in Phase 3 of clinical trials in India and pharma gianst Dr Reddy's had applied for emergency use approval of the vaccine in February. The vaccine is the most effective against the mutant UK strain of the coronavirus, its makers have claimed.
Pricing of Sputnik V
The price of Sputnik V in India is not yet clear however the vaccine is priced at $10 (Rs 750) internationally.
Storage of Sputnik V
Sputnik V can be stored at a temperature of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius, making it easy to be transported and stored to even remote and hard-to-reach regions. It is also a freeze dry powder vaccine which makes it easy to store.
How many Sputnik V doses will India get
850 million doses of Sputnik V are going to be produced annually in India. However, limited doses are going to be available by the end of this month.
Who developed Sputnik V
Sputnik V has been developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow and was registered in Russia in August 2020 as Gam-COVID-Vac.
Who will manufacture Sputnik V in India
Sputnik V supplies for the global market will be produced by Russia's sovereign wealth fund RDIF's (Russian Direct Investment Fund) international partners in India.
The RDIF has reached agreements with five pharmaceutical firms in the country - Gland Pharma, Hetero Biopharma, Panacea Biotec, Stelis Biopharma, Virchow Biotech - aimed at production of more than 850 million doses per year. The Serum Institute of India, the world's largest manufacturer of vaccines, is looking to tie up with the RDIF for the manufacture of the Sputnik V vaccine at their facilities in Pune.
Sputnik V is available in 60 countries including where it has been approved for use for 3 billion people or about 40 per cent of the global population.
Side effects of Sputnik V
On April 6, Russian state-backed news agency TASS quoted the country's Health Minister Mikhail Murashko as saying that side effects from the Sputnik V vaccine have been reported in only 0.1 per cent of cases.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had said last month that he experienced minor side effects from the coronavirus vaccine after receiving the first shot, news agency Reuters quoted the Interfax news agency which cited a TV interview. However, it was not clear which of the three Russian vaccines the President had taken. Sputnik V is the most popular vaccine in the country.
Nearly two-thirds of Russians are not willing to receive the Sputnik V vaccine, according to independent pollster Levada Center, as of March 1, with most respondents citing side effects as the main reason, Reuters reported.