Citing wastage, Russia urges India to lift ban on vaccine export

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He has requested the Indian government to allow the export of Sputnik Light to his country till the vaccine gets emergency use authorisation from India’s drug regulator…reports Asian Lite News.

Russia has sought a nod from the Indian government to lift a ban on the export of single-dose Covid vaccine Sputnik Light citing the reason for its shelf life and possibility of being wasted.

The Sputnik Light vaccine in India is produced by Hetero Biopharma which is one of the Russian Direct Investment Fund partners in the production of the vaccine.

“Hetero Biopharma Limited, one of the leading Indian pharmaceutical companies and RDIF’s partner in the production of the Sputnik Light, has already manufactured one million doses of Component I of the Sputnik V vaccine and two million doses of the Sputnik Light and intends to continue its production further,” said Russian ambassador Nicholay Kudashev in a communication to the Centre.

He has requested the Indian government to allow the export of Sputnik Light to his country till the vaccine gets emergency use authorisation from India’s drug regulator.

“However, a shelf life tenure of the vaccine, i.e., six months only, may expire before its registration, which will result in the wastage of several million doses of the vitally important Sputnik Light vaccine”, he added further.

“We would like to note that the Indian manufacturers of the Russian vaccine are discouraged by the current ban that prevents the use of the produced Sputnik Light vaccine in India and its export to other countries,” said the communication to V.K. Paul, chair of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC).

The ARDIF and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories are working with the authorities on the registration of the Sputnik Light in India.

However, the top source at the Union Health Ministry confirmed that the government has not yet responded to Russia’s request and any decision can be made soon.

Covaxin may get WHO approval by month-end

Meanwhile, India’s indigenously-developed Covid vaccine Covaxin may soon receive Emergency Use Listing by the World Health Organisation, eventually enabling its recipients to travel abroad without mandatory quarantine, NITI Aayog’s Member, Health, V.K. Paul said on Wednesday.

Data sharing and data evaluation are going on and a positive decision may come soon, he said.

“The data sharing and data evaluation have been going on through multiple reviews and we are close to a decision point.

“We must give time to WHO to make their decisions based on science. However, we hope that these decisions can be taken quickly because people who are receiving Covaxin have certain imperatives of travel. Most of us, who chose the concurrency, is important in terms of licensure. We are hoping for an early decision,” Dr Paul said.

“We believe that a positive decision could be coming in, before the end of the month,” he added.

In August, Indian Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya also met WHO Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan and held discussions over the WHO approval of Covaxin.

The vaccine’s developer Bharat Biotech has submitted its Phase 3 clinical trials data that demonstrated 77.8 per cent efficacy to the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).

The WHO has so far approved Covid-19 vaccines by Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson, Moderna, and Sinopharm.

Delhi reports a Covid death after 8 days

The national capital on Thursday reported a Covid death after eight days, as well as 28 fresh cases.

With the new cases and fatality, the case tally has gone up to 14,38,373, and the death toll to 25,084, according to the Delhi Health Department bulletin.

The number of active cases stand at 409, of which 110 are being treated in home isolation.

A total of 22 Covid patients were discharged in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of recoveries to 14,12,880, the bulletin said.

According to the bulletin, the city has reported slight surge in Covid infection rate which currently stands at 0.028 per cent, while the recovery rate continues to be at 98.22 per cent, and the death rate 1.74 per cent.

Delhi has a total 94 containment zones currently.

A total of 72,481 new tests – 49,734 RT-PCR and 22,747 Rapid Antigen – wer conducted, taking the total to 2,67,47,181 so far.

A total of 1,37,846 vaccines were administered in the last 24 hours, including 83,096 first doses, and 54,750 second doses.

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