Initial information has been shared while some detailed information is awaited, says Rajesh Bhushan, secretary, Union Health Ministry.
Coronavirus vaccine update: Even as the number of coronavirus infections in the country crossed the 3-million mark on Sunday, India is trying every possible way to contain the spread of the virus. Along with developing the indigenous COVID-19 vaccines, India is in discussion with various countries for coronavirus vaccine. The Union Health Ministry on Tuesday informed that India and Russia are in communication on the COVID-19 vaccine.
As far as Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik-5 is concerned, both countries (India and Russia) are in communication, said Rajesh Bhushan, secretary, Union Health Ministry, during a press conference on Tuesday. “Some initial information has been shared while some detailed information is awaited,” he added.
It may be noted that Sputnik-5, developed by Russia, is the world’s first vaccine for COVID-19, though Russia has faced severe criticism from scientists and healthcare experts over the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. Russia is yet to publish the detailed trial design or data of Sputnik-5, developed by Moscow-based Gamaleya Research Institute for Epidemiology and Microbiology and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). Russia had approved the Sputnik-5 vaccine without completion of the mandatory Phase 3 human trials and the vaccine has completed only Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials.
However, after criticism, Russia last week announced that it would conduct Phase 3 human trials of the Sputnik-5 vaccine. The country has also launched a dedicated website in this regard. According to RDIF, Phase 3 human trials will involve over 40,000 volunteers at more than 45 locations. The phase 3 clinical trials were supposed to take place “post-registration” of Sputnik-V with the drug regulator in Russia. Sputnik-5 will also go under phase 3 clinical in the Philippines in October.
Meanwhile, there are three indigenous potential COVID-19 vaccines are in late stages (Phase II and Phase-III) of clinical trials in India, according to the Union Health Ministry data.