Govt okays Russian vaccine for ‘emergency use’

Published January 24, 2021
Bottles with Russia's "Sputnik-V" vaccine against the coronavirus are seen before inoculation at a clinic in Tver, Russia in this file photo. — Reuters
Bottles with Russia's "Sputnik-V" vaccine against the coronavirus are seen before inoculation at a clinic in Tver, Russia in this file photo. — Reuters

KARACHI: The government has allowed another vaccine against Covid-19 under “emergency use authorisation” and given a go-ahead to a local pharmaceutical company for the import and distribution of the Russian-developed Sputnik V, an official confirmed on Saturday.

With the fresh decision, the official said, Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine became the third to be approved for emergency use in the country.

“In a meeting conducted by the registration board of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap), another vaccine has also been given EUA (emergency use authorisation) which was developed with the backing of Russian Develop­ment Investment Fund,” the official privy to the development said.

Last week, Drap authorised the Oxford University-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in Pakistan. A couple of days later, the regulatory body approved Chinese state-owned firm Sinopharm’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, the second shot to be given approval for use in the country.

Read | China to 'gift' 0.5m doses of Covid-19 vaccine to Pakistan by Jan 31: Qureshi

“Sputnik V is the world’s first registered vaccine based on a well-studied human adenoviral vector-based platform,” said the information available on the Sputnik V website. “It currently ranks among top-10 candidate vaccines approaching the end of clinical trials and the start of mass production on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) list.”

The ongoing Sputnik V post-registration clinical trial in Russia involved 40,000 volunteers, it said and added that clinical trials of Sputnik V had been announced in the UAE, India, Venezuela and Belarus.

Last week, Hungary became the first European Union country to approve the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine for public distribution. A short time later the UAE also announced the same decision making it 12th country outside of Russia which have authorised its use.

“Russia’s state-owned Sputnik-V has developed a double-dose vaccine, which is administered by syringes,” said the official.

A local pharmaceutical AGP, he said, had been authorised as the sole importer and distributor of the Russian vaccine.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2021

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