India might soon have several vaccine candidates joining the fight against COVID-19. Over the last four months, the country has used Bharat Biotech and ICMR's Covaxin as well as the Serum Institute of India manufactured AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to administer 10,45,28,565 jabs. Now, Russia's Sputnik V appears poised to join the fray.
According to reports, a committee of experts is slated to meet on Monday to discuss the possibility of granting emergency use approval to Sputnik V. Touted as the world's first COVID-19 vaccine, the Russian jab is already being used by several nations. In India, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories had partnered with the Russian Direct Investment Fund in September 2020 to conduct clinical trials. The vaccine is undergoing third phase trials at present, and Dr Reddy's had applied for emergency use on February 19.
Monday's Subject Expert Committee comes against the backdrop of a record case surge that has catapulted India back into second position among countries worst affected by COVID-19. In another meeting earlier this month, the committee had asked Dr Reddy's to submit relevant data.
News agency ANI on Sunday quoted top government sources to say that Sputnik V is expected to get the nod within the next 10 days. There are nearly 20 COVID-19 vaccines in various clinical and pre-clinical stages, in India, and officials expect five more vaccines to be in usage by the third quarter of 2021, that is, by October.
"Sputnik is expected to be available latest by June, if all goes well Johnson and Johnson ( Bio E) will be available by August, Cadilla Zydus will also be available by August, Novavex (Serum) by September and Nasal Vaccine (Bharat) by October," ANI quoted a top level source as saying.
(With inputs from agencies)