New Delhi/Bhubaneswar: NITI Aayog Member (Health), Dr VK Paul on Thursday announced that Russian COVID-19 vaccine- Sputnik V has arrived in India.
While briefing media Paul said, “I'm happy to say that we're hopeful it'll be available in the market next week and the sale of the limited supply that has come from Russia, will begin next week.”
“Supply will also follow. Its production will begin in July and it is estimated that 15.6 crore doses will be manufactured in that period,” he added.
Giving a stock of the COVID vaccination drive conducted across different states in the country, Paul said that nearly 18 crore doses of COVID19 vaccine have been administered in India till date. The number of vaccines administered in the US stands at around 26 crores and comparing the figures, India stands in third place.
“We are happy to report that 1/3rd of 45 and above are protected. 45 and above age group contributes to 88% of deaths,” Paul said.
Further clarifying about vaccine manufacturing in the country Paul said, “Around 216 crore doses of vaccines will be manufactured in India between August-December and with this flow, vaccines will be available for all as we move forward.”
The Department of Biotechnology along with other concerned departments, MEA have been in touch with Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson from the starting phase. They were officially asked if they'd like to send doses to or manufacture in India.
However, the abroad vaccine manufacturing companies had said that they are working in their own way and they would talk of vaccine availability in Q3, in 2021, informed Paul.
“We are connected to them. I'm hopeful that they'll step forward to increase availability in India. Any vaccine that is approved by FDA, WHO can come to India. Import license will be granted within 1-2 days. No import license is pending,” clarified Paul.
Meanwhile, Russian scientists said that the phase 3 trial of Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine is clear, transparent and fully complies with the regulatory standards that exist for the provision of clinical trial data.
The clarification comes after concerns were raised by various scientists over data discrepancies and substandard reporting of interim data of the Coronavirus jab.
A team of scientists from universities in the US, the Netherlands, Italy, France and Russia had earlier flagged concerns over Sputnik V Phase 3 trial, specifically on discrepancies in data sharing, trial protocols, inconsistencies in data reported and numerical results.
"We lack some crucial information, such as the clinical parameters determining suspected Covid-19, what diagnostic protocols were used, when the PCR testing was done, what specific method was used, or how many amplification cycles were used," said the scientists in the 'online first' section of medical journal The Lancet.
They had also pointed out problematic data and lack of transparency in the published Phase 1/2 results.
"Clear and transparent regulatory standards exist for provision of clinical trial data, including data reported in clinical study reports that are considered sufficient for regulatory review and approvals. The reporting of the interim analysis in the Phase 3 Sputnik V clinical trial fully complies with those standards," said scientists from the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation in Moscow.
Their reply was also published in the Lancet's 'online first' section.
"It is on this basis that Sputnik V has received registration in 51 countries, which confirms our full transparency and compliance with the regulatory requirements," they added.
The scientists noted that "the safety and immunogenicity of the Sputnik V vaccine has been confirmed in multiple studies", including in Argentina, where vaccination with Sputnik V began.
"Authorised in 64 countries with a population of 3.2 billion people, #SputnikV consistently demonstrates safety and efficacy in real world data from Argentina, Mexico, Hungary and other countries," SputnikV tweeted with a link to the Russian scientists' reply.
In April, Sputnik V, developed by Russia's Gamaleya National Center, became the third vaccine to be cleared for use in India, after the Serum Institute of India's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin were cleared in January.
With an efficacy of 91.6 per cent, Sputnik V was the first vaccine against Covid-19 in the world.
It will be available in markets across the country from early next week, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) announced on Thursday.
(With Inputs From Agencies)