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India to receive Sputnik V Covid vaccine on May 1: Check availability, price, efficacy, safety, side effects

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New Delhi, Apr 27: The first batch of Russian-made Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine will arrive in India on May 1, just in time for the country begins vaccinations for everyone above the age of 18 years.

Representational Image

"The first doses will be delivered on May 1," the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Kirill Dmitriev, told Reuters. However, he did not disclose how many vaccines would be in the first batch or where they would be made.

Who developed the Sputnik V vaccine?

Sputnik V has been jointly developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology and RDIF. In India, the vaccine is being marketed by Dr Reddy's Laboratories, based in Hyderabad. The RDIF partnered with Dr Reddy's to conduct clinical trials in the country, in September 2020. Reddy's sought the government's approval for the vaccine to be used in India.

How much does Sputnik V cost?

The cost of one dose of the vaccine for international markets is less than $10 (Sputnik V is a two- dose vaccine). However, India is yet to negotiate on the pricing.

How does Sputnik V work?

The Gam-COVID-Vac, called Sputnik V, is a two-part vaccine that includes two adenovirus vectors - recombinant human adenovirus type 26 (rAd26-S) and recombinant human adenovirus type 5 (rAd5-S). These vectors have been modified to express the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which the virus uses to enter human cells.

The adenoviruses are also weakened so that they cannot replicate in human cells and cannot cause disease.

In the trial, participants were given one dose of rAd26-S, followed by a booster dose of rAd5-S 21 days later. The researchers explained that using a different adenovirus vector for the booster vaccination may help create a more powerful immune response, compared with using the same vector twice, as it minimises the risk of the immune system developing resistance to the initial vector.

Sputnik V dosage

Sputnik V is a two dose vaccine. The vaccine is being administered separately in a first and second dose, 21 days apart. The peak immunity develops somewhere between day 28 to day 42. Sputnik V is said to be transportation easy, needs a storage temperature of 2-8 degree C. That means, it can be stored in conventional refrigerators and does not require an additional cold-chain infrastructure.

Sputnik V efficacy

Reportedly, Sputnik V has a 91.6 per cent efficacy against coronavirus, which is among the top performing vaccines, along with the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna jabs that also reported more than 90% efficacy. This is significant as both Covishield and Covaxin showed an efficacy of around 81 per cent in the trials.

"Sputnik V is one of the three vaccines in the world with efficacy of over 90%. The vaccine's efficacy is confirmed at 91.6% based on the analysis of data on 19,866 volunteers, who received both the first and second doses of the Sputnik V vaccine or placebo at the final control point of 78 confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to the information available on the vaccine's official website.

Sputnik V side-effects

There are no concerns that the Sputnik V vaccine could potentially cause harm to a person's health. The researchers have reported rare serious adverse events. The number of cases requiring hospital admission were also negligible.

So far, four deaths were reported in the trial, none of which were said to be related to the vaccine. Mild, including flu-like symptoms, pain at injection site and weakness or low energy, were most reported adverse effects.

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    Sputnik V has a number of key advantages, including that there are no strong allergies caused by Sputnik V.

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