Sputnik V is the third vaccine to get approval in India after Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Serum Institute of India’s Covishield.

Two vials, one with a blue cap and the other with a red cap, containing the Sputnik V vaccine
Coronavirus Coronavirus Tuesday, April 13, 2021 - 09:31

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine for emergency use in India, bringing India its third COVID-19 vaccine. The central drug regulator's chief Dr VG Somani approved the emergency use authorisation of the Russian vaccine. Sputnik V is the third vaccine to get emergency use authorisation from the drug regulator after indigenously developed Covaxin and Covishield.

The DCGI approval came after the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) on COVID-19 of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) on Monday recommended granting approval to Sputnik V for restricted emergency use subject to certain regulatory conditions. The DCGI had in January given emergency use authorisation for two COVID-19 indigenous vaccines -- Covaxin from Bharat Biotech and Covishield of Oxford-AstraZeneca manufactured by Serum Institute of India, Pune.

Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), said, “We appreciate the decision of India’s regulatory bodies to grant authorisation for Sputnik V. Approval of the vaccine is a major milestone as Russia and India have been developing extensive cooperation on clinical trials of Sputnik V in India and its local production.”

According to sources, around 10 crore doses of the Sputnik V vaccine is likely to be imported for emergency use in the country in the next six to seven months. The SEC on Monday deliberated upon the application of Dr Reddy's Laboratories seeking emergency use authorisation for Sputnik V. The vaccine is indicated for active immunisation to prevent COVID-19 in individuals aged 18 years and above, and is to be administered intramuscularly in two doses of 0.5 ml each with an interval of 21 days. It has to be stored at -18 degrees Celsius.

According to recommendations by the SEC, the firm has been asked to submit revised factsheets to CDSCO after incorporating the latest safety and efficacy data and other suggestions made during the meeting, another source said. Besides, the firm should submit the safety, efficacy and immunogenicity data from the ongoing clinical trials in India and Russia for review as and when available.

The firm also has to submit safety data, including the data on AEFI and AESI, with due analysis every 15 days for the first two months and monthly thereafter till the completion of the ongoing clinical trial in the country, as per the recommendations.

The SEC had reviewed the application by Dr Reddy's in two meetings held on February 24 and April 1.

The Health ministry had earlier said three more COVID-19 vaccines by Zydus Cadila, Biological E and Gennova are also in the pipeline and in advanced clinical trials in India.

Global healthcare major Johnson and Johnson is in discussions with the Indian government to begin a clinical trial of its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine in the country, the company said on Friday.

In light of the SEC meeting held on April 1, Dr Reddy's on Monday presented the interim safety and immunogenicity data from phase 2/3 clinical trial, including GMT titres for virus neutralising antibodies, comparative phase 3 immunogenicity data generated in Indian and Russian studies, and unblinded data of serious adverse events and RT-PCR positive cases among others.

In September last year, Dr Reddy's partnered with RDIF to conduct clinical trials of Sputnik V and for its distribution rights in India.

Sputnik V has demonstrated an efficacy rate of 91.6% in the interim analysis of phase 3 clinical trial, which included data on 19,866 volunteers in Russia.

(With PTI inputs)

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