Russia’s Sputnik V will be India’s third vaccine against Covid-19, if approved by DCGI; country records highest coronavirus spike with 1.68 lakh fresh cases.

Russia’s Sputnik V has been recommended by an expert committee and is likely to be India’s third vaccine against Covid-19, if approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). Sputnik V has an efficacy of 91.6% and will be manufactured in India by Dr Reddy’s.

In its last meeting, held on 1 April, the experts’ committee had asked the pharma company for data on how the shot activates the body’s immune response against the coronavirus. The panel had also asked for “unblinded data” of all serious adverse events (“unblinded” means when subjects know whether the shot administered to them was the vaccine or a placebo). A comparative analysis of Phase III data in India and in Russian studies has also been sought.

Russian Ambassador to India Nikolay R. Kudashev said, “We note the reports that a committee of experts recommended Sputnik V for use in India. This step would definitely contribute to the efforts of the Indian government to counter the Covid-19 pandemic. We hope the approval by the DCGI will be completed soon.”

However, the Russian Direct Investment Fund said, “RDIF confirms it is awaiting imminently the recommendation by the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) of India to approve the use of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against coronavirus in India.”

The vaccine, if approved, will be the third vaccine in India after the Serum Institute’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.

Speaking about the advantages of Sputnik V, former ICMR director Dr N.K. Ganguly said, “This vaccine is based on human adenoviral vectors that cause the common cold. It uses two types of different vectors for the two shots and can be stored at temperatures of 2 to 8 degrees C. Sputnik V is affordable, has more efficacy, the trial of the vaccine has been done. When India is going through a mutant variant wave, this vaccine will be more effective.”

The most recent wave of the infection has been causing massive daily spikes and adding to the country›s death toll. In the last 24 hours, India recorded 1,68,912 new Covid-19 cases, its highest daily count, and 904 deaths, taking the total number of cases to 1,35,27,717 and deaths to 1,70,179.

There are now 12,01,009 active cases in the country, while 1,21,56,529 people have recovered from the infection. As many as 10,45,28,565 people have also been administered the Covid-19 vaccine.

Delhi reported 11,491 new Covid-19 cases, marking its highest single-day jump, and 72 deaths in the last 24 hours, which is the highest number of fatalities in the past four months. The cumulative caseload of the national capital has risen to 7,36,688. Asserting that the Covid-19 situation in Delhi is «very serious», chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said the government is closely monitoring the situation but is not in favour of a complete lockdown.

Maharashtra reported 51,751 new coronavirus cases, 52,312 recoveries and 258 deaths in the last 24 hours. Meanwhile, Mumbai recorded 6,905 new cases, the lowest single-day count so far in April, which took the financial capital›s Covid-19 caseload to 5,27,119. Meanwhile, 43 more patients succumbed to the infection as the death toll jumped to 12,060.

Madhya Pradesh reported 6,489 fresh coronavirus cases, the biggest spike in a single day, while 37 patients died of the infection. The state›s case tally has reached 3,44,634, while the death count is at 4,221. Madhya Pradesh is now left with 38,651 active cases. A total of 3,117 people were discharged from hospitals in Madhya Pradesh in the last 24 hours, taking the overall count of recoveries to 3,01,762.

Rajasthan recorded 5,771 fresh Covid-19 cases that took the state›s total to 3,69,564, while 25 more fatalities pushed the death toll to 2,951. Jaipur reported the highest number of fresh cases at 961, followed by 709 in Udaipur, 683 in Kota and 628 in Jodhpur.

Uttar Pradesh reported 13,685 new Covid-19 cases while 72 fatalities took the death toll to 9,224. The total number of cases in the state stands at 7,05,619 and the active caseload is 81,576.

Andhra Pradesh reported 3,263 fresh cases of coronavirus, 1,091 recoveries and 11 deaths in the last 24 hours. Consequently, the total positive cases went up to 9,28,664, recoveries to 8,98,238 and deaths to 7,311. The state now has 23,115 active Covid-19 cases.

Karnataka reported 9,579 fresh Covid-19 cases and 52 related fatalities, taking the total caseload to 10.74 lakh and the toll to 12,941. Bengaluru Urban alone accounted for 6,387 of the fresh cases. The day also saw 2,767 patients getting discharged after recovery. Cumulatively, 10,74,869 Covid-19 positive cases have been confirmed in the state, which include 12,941 deaths and 9,85,924 discharges.