Russia's single dose Covid vaccine 'Sputnik Light' has raised hopes of speeding up vaccination drive in India which is witnessing a savage second wave of coronavirus infection. With the country reporting lakhs of cases and thousands of deaths on a daily basis, experts have underlined the need of speeding up inoculation of people to break the deadly chain of infection.
India has already approved Russia's two-dose vaccine Sputnik V. However, it is yet to be rolled out for people. As far as Sputnik Light is concerned, the government said it is examining the claims related to the new injectable drug.
"Sputnik V is a two-dose vaccine taken at a gap of three weeks. The unique feature of it is that the antigens in the first and second dose are different from each other. In other vaccines, both doses are the same," NITI Aayog member V K Paul said on Friday.
"In case of Sputnik Light, they (developers) are saying that the first dose is enough. We are examining this claim. We will go through its data and immunogenicity, and after that we will see. Let more information come in," Paul said at a press conference in New Delhi while responding to a query if Sputnik Light will be used in India for vaccinating its population against the infection.
Paul noted that if the claims of the vaccine developer are true, it can help double the speed of vaccination in India.
"...it is very promising, if there is protection from single dosage as they have claimed. It is very encouraging and makes us feel very optimistic. Single-dose vaccines can increase the speed of vaccination, but the merit and the processing of their request, as and when it comes, will be based on scientific data and information," he noted.
India's drug regulator had last month granted permission for restricted emergency use of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V with certain conditions.
(With inputs from PTI)