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The power of collaboration towards making safer and effective vaccine

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Image credit: Ivan Uralsky / 123rf

With 1.5 doses of Sputnik V arriving in May 2021, the inoculation drive in India had reached an altogether new milestone. The Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in collaboration with Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) were among the front runners to understand the potential of vaccines like Sputnik V and their potential to save the world from coronavirus. It was not just the vaccine but also the science behind Sputnik V that resulted in providing the highest protection against the coronavirus pandemic. Hence, given their understanding behind its science, The Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology were one of the pioneers who understood the need to adopt a collaborative approach in developing a safe and effective vaccine against the pandemic.

Given the repercussions and alarming number of new cases and death tolls in India with the second wave of Covid pandemic and the persistent fear of the third wave, it is important to understand that apart from inoculating the Indian population, it is also important for vaccine producers to work together to bring out the highest efficacy levels of the other corresponding vaccine. One such example is Russian Direct Investment Fund-backed vaccine, Sputnik V. Their collaborative efforts with AstraZeneca illustrate how great of a possibility it is for vaccine manufacturers to help each other in increasing the potency of their vaccine.

Dr. Gajendra Singh, Public Health Expert said, “It won’t be wrong to say that Gamaleya institute along with RDIF is moving in right direction of to ensure the best possible efficacy of vaccine by believing in building cooperation with other vaccines for a larger purpose. Instead of competing, collaboration is the solution towards making the world corona free. RDIF played a leading and visionary role in this direction. It is imperative to say that vaccine makers to keep this understanding in view while preparing in advance for bigger and more tough challenges ahead of us. The time has now come to re-imagine and initiate collaborative methods.”

The unique development approach that basically made Sputnik V a “vaccine cocktail” (by using not one, but two different vectors, Ad5 and Ad26, for two different shots), resulted in additional protection and stronger immunity, making the Russian anti-COVID vaccine one of only three with confirmed efficacy of over 90% shown both during clinical trials and over the course оf real-world use in many countries. Not only that, Sputnik V developers were also the first to suggest as far back as November to start joint clinical trials with another vaccine, the AstraZeneca one, to see if this vaccine mixture could lead to even higher efficacy and better safety. The trials are currently ongoing. The advantages of this approach, many months later, are finally being acknowledged as other vaccines are considering their own “cocktails.”

Combining the shots in a vaccine cocktail is a good solution to fight different solutions.  RDIF’s CEO Kirill Dmitriev recently said that India will be a great production hub for Sputnik V, and the fund sees great potential in collaboration by working closely with existing Indian vaccines. The joint programme with Serum Institute is one of the next best steps of RDIF where there could be one shot from them and one shot from Sputnik V. 

Discussing the same, Dr. Amir Ullah Khan, Economist, Professor at the MCRHRDI of the Government of Telangana, and Former Advisor to the Bill Melinda Gates Foundation said, “In this alarming situation, we can’t compromise the quality of the vaccine. The new variants may be arising more in the coming times, and highest efficacy of the vaccines is extremely crucial to effectively fight the arising mutant strains of the Coronavirus.”

This article does not necessarily reflect the views of Health Issues India’s editorial board, nor its publisher. 

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