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India in talks with Russia for COVID vaccine

Indian PM Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin

Secretary to Health Ministry Rajesh Bhushan at a press conference on Tuesday (25/08/2020) said that both India and Russia are in communication regarding the Sputnik-V vaccine. The Government informed that detailed information is still awaited from Moscow.

It has been reported that Russia is looking to India as its partner for the production of COVID 19 vaccine along with countries like Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Italy and other Latin American Countries as informed by Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russian Direct Investment Fund. 

Russia on August 11 registered the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine ‘Sputnik-V‘ which is currently in the phase 3 trial.

Sputnik-V has been developed by Gamaleya Research Institute and the Russian defence ministry. While Russia is very confident about its product, experts have other opinions on it. The American experts like Larry Gostin and Dr Anthony Fauci doubt the effectiveness of the Vaccine. Even WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that ‘vaccine nationalism’ cannot beat coronavirus. Russian President Vladimir Putin assured everybody about the effectiveness of the vaccine and has also vaccinated his daughter with the same.

When asked about the status of the vaccines that are under development in India Balram Bhargava, the director-general of ICMR said that currently three vaccines in India have made some progress and three others are in pre-clinical stage.

The three progressed vaccines include the vaccine developed by Serum Institute which is now under phase 2B and 3 where 1700 patients would be studied. The second one is the vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech which has completed phase 1 study with 375 patients and about to begin phase 2. The last one is from Zydus Cadila which has completed phase 1 with around 50-75 patients and about to begin its second phase.

Regarding phases, he explained that the 2nd vaccine dose is given after 14 to 28 days after the 1st  dose and after 2 to 4 weeks, their antibody response is measured in the patient’s blood and hence the trail takes time.

As of now, there are around 3.31million cases with 2.47million recoveries and 60,472 deaths in India.