Russia has approved a single-dose version of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, its developers announced on Thursday. The new version, called Sputnik Light, has an efficacy of about 80%. Sputnik V had shown a 91.6% efficacy in late stage trials, according to results published in February.
The results were from “data taken from 28 days after the injection was administered as part of Russia’s mass vaccination program between 5 December 2020 and 15 April 2021”, said the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund which helped financed the vaccine.
“Sputnik Light has proven effective against all new strains of coronavirus,” the RDIF said in a statement. “No serious adverse events were registered after vaccination with Sputnik Light.”
“The cost of the Sputnik Light vaccine globally will be less than $10 [around Rs 730], while it has simple storage requirements, at +2-+8 [degrees Celsius], which provide for easy logistics,” the RDIF added. The Sputnik vaccines are developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology.
“Sputnik Light will help to prevent the spread of coronavirus through the faster immunization of larger population groups, as well as supporting high immunity levels in those who have already been infected previously,” Alexander Gintsburg, the director of the Gamaleya National Research Center said. “Sputnik Light offers strong value in initial vaccination and re-vaccination, as well as boosting efficacy when taken in combination with other vaccines.”
Sputnik V is the third vaccine to receive emergency-use authorisation in India after the Serum Institute’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. India is currently battling a devastating second wave of the pandemic, and the Sputnik vaccines could help reduce the country’s load.
While Sputnik V had shown a 91.6% efficacy in late-stage trials, the trial did not include efficacy data of the vaccine for new variants of the coronavirus. The vaccine is administered in two doses separated by 21 days and requires a minus 18-20 degree Celsius cold chain to remain stable.
India received its first batch of 1.5 lakh Sputnik V vaccines from Russia on May 1. It is expected to send another 1,50,000 vaccines in the next two days, while another 30 lakh vaccines are expected by the end of the month, according to the Hindustan Times.
In September, Dr Reddy’s and the Russian Direct Investment Fund entered into a partnership to conduct clinical trials of Sputnik V, and the rights for distribution of the first 10 crore doses in India.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund also has contracts with other Indian firms, including Gland Pharma and Hetero Biopharma, to produce doses of the vaccine. The Russian Direct Investment Fund has said that more than 85 crore doses of the Sputnik V vaccine will be produced in India annually.