COVID-19 Vaccine: Russia to Sell 100 Million shots to Dr. Reddy for Trail III in IndiaVignesh Subbaian (Author) Published Date : Sep 17, 2020 10:01 IST
The race for the COVID-19 vaccine is speeding up worldwide and especially in India. It is the reason that the Indian pharma giant Dr. Reddy has agreed to buy 100 million doses of Russia's Sputnik vaccine and conduct the phase III trials in India.
In the last week alone, India had more than 6.4 lakh new COVID-19 cases, which is high compared to even the US. Though being in the first position of the worst-hit countries by the SARS – CoV – 2 virus, the US reported only 2.4 lakh cases. Brazil, which is in the third position after India, reported only 1.3 lakh cases. And Russia, which is in the fourth position, has only around 10 lakh cases in total so far.
The COVID-19 vaccine availability to India
With nearly one lakh of new infections reported by the health ministry daily for the past few days and soon to become the number one in the worst-hit countries by COVID-19, Indian people need the vaccine than anyone else in the world.
But there are different versions of the dates announced by many in the last few days. On September 13, union health minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that the COVID-19 vaccine would be available to the Indians during the first quarter of 2021, without mentioning the date. He did not elaborate on which vaccine will be available to the people.
But the CEO of Serum Institute of India, which is the largest vaccine producer globally, said It takes four to five years for the vaccine to be available for everyone. Serum Institute had tied up with Astra Zeneca, which had developed the most promising COVID-19 vaccine so far. But during the final Phase III trials in the UK, a volunteer had developed an illness. It prompted the pausing of the trial not only in the UK but also in India.
The DCGI or drug controller general of India VG Somani questioned Serum Institute of not informing of the UK's pausing. Now, permission has been granted to continue with the phase III trial of the oxford vaccine by AstraZeneca to continue in India.
Russia starts vaccinating Sputnik.
Sputnik developed by RDIF or Russian Direct Investment fund for COVID-19, had started administering to Russians. It is even after phase III of the vaccine not yet completed. But RDIF has signed agreements with many countries like Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and now India to sell millions of Sputnik doses. But, Dr. Reddy's Lab will have to conduct the phase III trials in India with the Sputnik vaccine. And no one knows when it will complete or will it be even successful without any issues. It is because even the highly-rated Oxford University' vaccine for AstraZeneca paused its Phase III trials due to the illness of one patient.
Hence it is the only solution for the Indian people to be safe with social distancing to be alive during this worst pandemic and the uncertainty of when to get the COVID-19 vaccine.