“Russia inks deal with Dr. Reddy’s for Sputnik V trails in India, to supply 100 million doses.”- LiveMint, Sep, 2020.
INFORMATION ABOUT DEAL
Drug maker Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL) announce on Wednesday (September 16, 2020) that it will distribute 100 million (10 crore) doses of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine in India, after conducting final-stage human trails and receiving regulatory clearances here.
IMPLICATION OF DEAL
If India’s top drug regulatory body sign off on phase 3 trails in the country, Sputnik V will replace Serum Institute of India’s ‘COVISHIELD’ as the frontrunner in the race to produce a COVID-19 vaccine for India.
COVISHEILD is a trail done for Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. It is expected that this vaccine will be ready for use by the start of next year.
WHAT IS THE SPUTNIK V VACCINE?
This vaccine uses a technology which is known as ‘human adenoviral vector’.
Adenoviruses cause a wide range of illnesses ranging from fever, coughs, and sore throats to pink eye, diarrhea and bladder infections.
The adenovirus is modified and weakened so that it cannot replicate in the human body. Instead, it will act like a Trojan Horse, carrying instructions for the cells in the human body to produce the spiky outer layer (spike protein) of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
This is expected to help the body recognize the spike protein as a foreign substance and build an immune response against it.
Sputnik V uses two different genetically modified adenoviruses to carry the spike protein.
The vaccine containing the second adenovirus is given 21 days after the first one. It is expected to boost the body’s immune response and build long lasting immunity.
WHAT DOES THIS AGREEMENT MEAN FRO INDIA?
While India has been in discussions with Russia to explore the possibility of using Sputnik V here for around a month now, The DRL deal is the first concrete development that shows the vaccine will come to India.
HOW SOON WILL IT BE AVAILABLE TO THE OUBLIC IN THIS COUNTRY?
If the timeline given by DRL is to be believed, about 100 million Indians can expect to start getting a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of this year i.e. 2020.
Going by the government’s vaccination priorities, healthcare, and frontline workers might be the first to get this vaccine. Of course, thus will depend on how long it takes for the phase 3 trails to conclude in India, and whether India’s regulatory authorities are convinced by the safety and efficacy data generated in these trails.
THINGS TO MIND
- This vaccine was approved in Russia even before phase 3 trails were conducted.
- Even the phase 1 and 2 human trails were conducted on a very small group of fewer than 100 people.
- While findings from the early studies showed that the vaccine was safe, the relatively small number of volunteers in the trails, and skipping of phase 3 trails before approvals, has drawn global criticism.
- The only way to truly ascertain the safety and effectiveness of this vaccine is to look at long term information from those vaccinated in the earlier trials, as well as to conduct larger phase 3 trails over a longer period of time.
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