Sputnik Light nod set to boost vaccine’s demand

Role of two-dose Sputnik V vaccine in India’s inoculation programme, thus far, has been limited for multiple reasons

Updated - February 08, 2022 07:55 am IST

Published - February 07, 2022 10:56 pm IST - Hyderabad

A view shows vials of Sputnik Light vaccine. File

A view shows vials of Sputnik Light vaccine. File

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI)‘s approval to the single-shot Sputnik Light for restricted use in emergency situations is likely to boost demand for the Russian vaccine in the country.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Sunday evening tweeted “DCGI has granted emergency use permission to single-dose Sputnik Light... this is the 9th COVID19 vaccine in the country,” while pharma major Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories confirmed the development in a statement on Monday.

Sputnik Light is the same as the first component — recombinant human adenovirus serotype number 26 (rAd26 ) — of the two-dose Sputnik V vaccine, whose role in India’s inoculation programme thus far had been limited, for multiple reasons, including those related to its supplies. Also, the two-dose Sputnik has been administered mostly through private hospitals.

Things, however, may start looking up the vaccine, which is marketed by Dr. Reddy’s under a partnership with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).

“As the single-shot Sputnik Light is for the benefit of the unvaccinated population, we are confident of its ability to impact the population that is serviced both by the public health programmes and the private sector. We are in discussions on the same,” a spokesperson of Dr. Reddy’s said on Monday.

While the DCGI approval is for Sputnik Light — for individuals over 18 years of age — as a single-shot standalone vaccine, the company is also making efforts to get the regulator’s nod use of Sputnik Light as a precautionary dose/ booster.

“Our objective is to seek approval for Sputnik Light as a booster for all vaccines,” the spokesperson said.

Supply visibility

“We have adequate visibility of manufacturing and supply,” the spokesperson said to a query on supply concerns in the past.

Dr. Reddy’s leadership at a recent media briefing had also maintained that there need not be any concern with regard to Sputnik vaccine availability since multiple manufacturing partners were producing it. On whether the price of Sputnik Light will be same as that of first dose of Sputnik V, which is nearly ₹1,000, the spokesperson said: “we will share further information on this in due course”.

On plans to bring Sputnik M, which is being used in Russia for adolescents, the spokesperson said: “We have received data from trials conducted in Russia... currently in the process of translating the data. We will then study the next steps, options, and the current scenario before making further decisions.”

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