India clears Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine amid deadly COVID-19 wave

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India’s drug regulator has confirmed the approval of a third coronavirus vaccine – Russia’s Sputnik V – as the country battles a deadly wave of the pandemic that saw it logged over 161,000 new infections on Tuesday.

Russia’s sovereign wealth fund RDIF said the drug controller general of India had approved the use of Sputnik V.

“India is the most populated country to register the Russian vaccine. Total population of 60 countries where Sputnik V is approved for use is three billion people or about 40 per cent of the global population,” statement said.

On Monday, sources had said an expert panel set by the drugs regulator had recommended granting emergency use approval to Sputnik V, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute.

Sputnik V will be manufactured by five pharmaceutical companies in the country and 850 million doses were going to be produced annually, RDIF said.

Limited doses were going to be made available by the end of April, RDIF chief executive Kirill Dmitriev told broadcaster NDTV.

India has so far used two vaccines, one developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca and the other by domestic firm, Bharat Biotech, for its mass immunisation programme.

India has administered over 108 million doses to its population of 1.3 billion people.

Sputnik V has the highest efficacy – 91.6 per cent among the vaccines cleared in India. (dpa/NAN)

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