New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: In what could bring a smile on the faces of Indians amid the alarming rise in coronavirus cases, Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine on Monday got a nod by a committee of experts for restricted emergency use in the country, reported news agency ANI quoting sources.

However, a final will be taken by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). If approved, it will become India's third COVID-19 vaccine after Serum Institue's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.

Sputnik V, which has been approved by more than 50 countries, has been developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Russia but it will be locally manufactured by Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical company Dr Reddy's Laboratories.

As per the interim analysis of phase III clinical trials, which includes data from nearly 20,000 Russian volunteers, Sputnik V has an efficacy of 91.6 per cent, the highest effectiveness after Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

India is battling the massive second wave of COVID-19 pandemic with more than 1.5 lakh cases daily. Several states and union territories (UTs) are mulling imposing lockdown but the central government believes that vaccination on a mass scale is the only way forward.

However, several states, including Maharashtra and Punjab, have claimed of shortage of vaccines, asking the Centre to deliver shots. The expert committee's nod to Sputnik V will likely help the central government in meeting the vaccine requirements.

Meanwhile, ANI, quoting government sources, has reported India will soon approve more vaccines to accelerate the inoculation drive in the country.

"Sputnik is expected to be available latest by June, if all goes well Johnson and Johnson ( Bio E) will be available by August, Cadilla Zydus will also be available by August, Novavex (Serum) by September and Nasal Vaccine (Bharat) by October," the government sources told ANI.

So far, the infection has affected over 1.35 crore people while the death toll has increased to 1.70 lakh with the country having a fatality rate of 1.26 per cent. However, the national COVID-19 recovery rate has fallen below 90 per cent. 

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma