Touted as the first COVID-19 vaccine in the world by Russia, a vaccine candidate that has not drawn very good reviews from the W.H.O., Sputnik V is said to be in discussion between India and Russia to mass-produce. The Russian vaccine is developed by Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology.
The news is confirmed by Rajesh Bhushan, Health Secretary, and co-chair of the national Covid-19 vaccine administration task force. Russia has approached India asking to join hands to manufacture the vaccine and approval to conduct phase-3 human trials in India.
“The two countries are in communication. Initial information has been shared. Some details are awaited,” said Bhushan. India has asked for additional safety data before going ahead with the dialogue.
Sources in the government said that Russian Ambassador Nikolay Kudashev had been in touch with Principal Scientific Adviser K Vijay Raghavan to deliberate on a collaboration. The matter is lying with the national vaccine task force for now.
While the rest of the world is still racing to develop a safe vaccine candidate, Russia expedited the process surpassing the others. But there are serious safety concerns over their vaccine with phase-3 trials. They announced the vaccine on August 11 and their president Vladimir Putin said that one of his daughters has been inoculated with it. He said that the vaccine provides “stable immunity and was effective”.
According to W.H.O. the real effectiveness of a vaccine would be in phase-3 trials during which 30 percent protection at population level needs to be achieved.
The Indian drug regulatory body has approved only one vaccine candidate for human trials in India. It is the Oxford University and Serum Institute of India collaborative candidate. It will be administered to 1,700 Indians.