New Delhi : The Indian embassy in Moscow is in touch with the Russian medical research institute that has developed the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine to be cleared for use by the public.
Russian regulators last week greenlighted the Sputnik V vaccine developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, and President Vladimir Putin announced that one of his daughters had already been inoculated with it.
“The Indian Mission is engaging separately with the Russian side through our embassy in Moscow. We are now awaiting the safety and efficacy data of this vaccine for Covid-19,” a source told The Indian Express.
Western experts have been sceptical about the Russian claim, given the speed and secrecy with which the Gamaleya candidate has been given regulatory approval. Developing a vaccine is a complex and lengthy process, and the candidate must pass extensive field trials before it is cleared for human use. The Sputnik V candidate has been approved without being put through final phase 3 human trials
Putin has claimed that the vaccine works “quite effectively”, and “forms a stable immunity” against the infection.
The official Sputnik V website, run by the Russian sovereign wealth fund Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), says phase 1 and 2 clinical trials of the vaccine were completed on August 1, 2020, and the vaccine received a registration certificate under “emergency rules” from the Russian Ministry of Health on August 11.
“Phase 3 clinical trial involving more than 2,000 people in Russia, a number of Middle Eastern (UAE and Saudi Arabia), and Latin American countries (Brazil and Mexico)”, the website says, “will start on August 12”.