NEW DELHI: The Centre is considering the request of the Russian government for holding phase-3 trial of Covid-19 vaccine 'Sputnik V' in India and its large scale manufacturing by Indian vaccine makers, a top government functionary said in a press briefing on Tuesday.
“The Indian government attaches great importance to this offer of partnership from a very special friend of this nation, and on both the tracks there has been significant movement,” said Dr. V K Paul, member (health) Niti Aayog who also heads the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19.
Last month, Russia had registered its first vaccine candidate, developed by Moscow's Gamaleya Institute, after completing early-stage human trials.
The results of phase 1 and 2 trials published in The Lancet last week said that the vaccine was well tolerated by all volunteers it was tested on and also triggered good antibody response.
The vaccine which is administered in two doses, each based on a different vector that normally causes the common cold in humans and other primates (human adenoviruses Ad5 and Ad26), has entered phase-3 trial in Russia.
Paul also said that so far three Indian companies have shown interest in mass production of the Russian vaccine and talks are on with others.
The results of the early clinical trials, at the moment, are also being studied by Indian regulators, according to sources.
Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko has said Russia will start mass-inoculation from November or December, with a focus on high-risk groups. Over half a dozen drugmakers are already conducting advanced clinical trials, each with tens of thousands of participants. Meanwhile, the first batch of the Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19 has been released into civil circulation, and regional deliveries are planned in the nearest future, as per reports.
In India, three vaccines are currently undergoing clinical trials, including one developed by UK's Oxford University.
Paul said that the Serum Institute of India -- which has entered into a partnership with AstraZeneca, which holds the licence for Oxford University’s experimental vaccine -- alone has the capacity to churn out 75-100 million doses of vaccine every month.