India is among the 20 countries interested in procuring the COVID-19 vaccine that Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Tuesday. The vaccine, named ‘Sputnik V’ is dubbed as the world’s first coronavirus antidote by the Russian President. However, the WHO and other scientists say that it still needs to go through vigorous safety reviews.
Putin, on the other hand, has said that the vaccine is safe and is known to have inoculated one of his daughters. The clinical trials of the vaccine are yet to be completed and it is only on Wednesday the final stage testing involving 2,000 people is expected to begin.
Putin has high hopes from the vaccine
The Russian president is optimistic about the efficacy of the vaccine who has asked Health Minister Mikhail Murashko to keep him informed about every latest development. He said that “It works quite effectively and forms a stable immunity.”
Sputnik V is touted as a viral vector vaccine, which means it employs another virus to carry the DNA encoding of the needed immune response into cells.
In a statement, the Sputnik said, “The RDIF (Russian Direct Investment Fund) sees strong global interest in the vaccine and plans to conduct Phase 3 clinical trials in different countries, including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Brazil, India and Philippines, and start mass production in other countries in partnership with local sovereign wealth funds, including India, South Korea, and Brazil, as well as, in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Cuba.”
Currently, the plan is to begin mass production of the vaccine by September and step up to 200 million doses by the end of 2020, including 30 million doses in Russia.
In the meanwhile, there is a race by other countries also to develop a COVID vaccine. So far five vaccines have reached the Phase 3 efficacy trials involving thousands of people. Three of them are from western countries and two from China. Clinical tests of the two Chinese vaccine candidates—Sinovac and Sinopharm are progressing fast.