India begins selecting people for priority coronavirus vaccines

  • India begins selecting people for priority coronavirus vaccines

India begins selecting people for priority coronavirus vaccines

Having refused permission earlier, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has now allowed Dr Reddy's to conduct phase 2/3 clinical human trials of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine candidate.

Russia's sovereign wealth fund, the Russian Direct Investment Fund or RDIF, and Dr Reddy's had agreed to collaborate on the clinical trials and distribution of the Sputnik V vaccine in India in September.

Sputnik, named after the world's first satellite launched by the erstwhile Soviet Union, is now a top vaccine contender along with those of AstraZeneca-Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila that are undergoing clinical trials.

India's coronavirus infections rose by another 62,212 cases over the previous day, with a media report saying on Saturday that the government had begun identifying about 300 million people who would be given the vaccine first when it is ready. A phase 2 trial typically involves a few hundred volunteers distributed across multiple locations. Its vaccine is in late stage trials in Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey, and the company has said that an interim analysis of Phase 3 trial data could come as early as November.

In addition to Indian clinical trial data, the Russians will provide safety and immunogenicity study from the Russian phase 3 clinical trial as well. While Sputnik V is now undergoing Phase-3 clinical trials involving 40,000 volunteers in Russian Federation, a Phase-3 clinical trial of the vaccine has also commenced in the UAE last week. The trials of the homegrown candidates had started in mid-July and scientists expect the outcome of the phase 2 or human immunogenicity analysis to emerge any time now.

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, announced on Friday that he had received the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Expert Group, in consultation with states, is working actively on prioritisation and distribution of vaccines. However, in a recent announcement by the Prime Minister's Office, the Centre said there is no major mutation in viral strain in India, implying that the vaccine development and its efficiency will not be impacted.

On prioritizing access to vaccines, he said, "Although 55% of the population is below 50 years of age, as per availability of vaccines healthcare workers should get the vaccines first, then people over 60 years with comorbidities, followed by the rest of the populace".