Pharmaceutical firm Dr Reddy’s Laboratories on 14 May said as part of a limited pilot, the soft launch of the Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V has commenced and the first dose of the vaccine was administered in Hyderabad.
The first consignment of imported doses of the Sputnik V vaccine landed in India on 1 May, and received regulatory clearance from the Central Drugs Laboratory, Kasauli, on 13 May, it added.
“Further consignments of imported doses are expected over the upcoming months. Subsequently, supply of the Sputnik V vaccine will commence from Indian manufacturing partners,” it added.
The imported doses of the vaccine are presently priced at a maximum retail price of Rs 948, with 5% GST per dose, with the possibility of a lower price point when local supply begins, it said. The Company is working closely with its six manufacturing partners in India to fulfill regulatory requirements to ensure smooth and timely supply.
Dr Reddy’s will work closely with stakeholders in the Government and private sector in India to ensure the widest possible reach of the Sputnik V vaccine as part of the national inoculation effort. This is a reaffirmation of the Company’s commitment to explore every avenue in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic in India.
Paving the way for a third Covid-19 vaccine to be available in India, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had in April granted permission for restricted emergency use of Russia’s Sputnik V jab. Dr Reddys has partnered with the Russia Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to bring the Sputnik V vaccine to India and other countries.
The trials of the vaccine have been conducted in Russia, India, the UAE and the vaccine demonstrated an efficacy of 91.6 per cent. Clinical trial data published in The Lancet has indicated that the vaccine “appears safe and effective”.
The vaccine is the only one other than that of Pfizer and Moderna to demonstrate efficacy of more than 91.6% against Covid-19 when taken in two doses, 21 days apart. This was found in interim results of Phase 3 trials conducted in Russia on more than 20,000 volunteers aged above 18 years.
This vaccine can be stored in two forms. In the liquid form, it requires a temperature of -18 degrees C and in the powdered form it requires a temperature storage of 2-8 degree Celsius, meaning it can be stored in conventional refrigerators and does not require an additional cold-chain infrastructure.
Sputnik V will be produced in India from July onwards as India looks to produce 15.6 crore doses of the Russian vaccine.
How is Sputnik V administered?
The vaccine is given (0·5 mL/dose) intramuscularly in a prime-boost regimen. But unlike other similar vaccines, the Sputnik jab uses two slightly different versions for the first and second dose. The first dose (rAd26) is a different vector and the second dose is (rAd5). But, both vectors carry the gene for full-length SARS-CoV-2 glycoprotein or protein S.
They both target the coronavirus’s distinctive “spike”, but use different vectors — the neutralised virus that carries the spike to the body. The idea is that using two different formulas boost the immune system even more than using the same version twice.
Sputnik V already in use in these countries
The vaccine is presently being used in 60 countries — Belarus, Argentina, Bolivia, Serbia, Algeria, Palestine, Venezuela, Paraguay, Turkmenistan, Hungary, UAE, Iran, Republic of Guinea, Tunisia, Armenia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Republika Srpska (entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina), Lebanon, Myanmar, Pakistan, Mongolia, Bahrain.
Some other countries are Montenegro, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Gabon, San-Marino, Ghana, Syria, Kyrgyzstan, Guyana, Egypt, Honduras, Guatemala, Moldova, Slovakia, Angola, Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Sri Lanka, Laos, Iraq, North Macedonia, Kenya, Morocco, Jordan, Namibia, Azerbaijan, Philippines, Cameroon, Seychelles, Mauritius, Vietnam, Antigua and Barbuda, Mali and Panama.