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Sputnik V maker says vaccine to be priced under $20 per person

Sputnik V’s efficacy information, like most vaccine candidates for which the information has been announced so far, is still preliminary in nature and yet to be published in a scientific journal or peer reviewed.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | Updated: November 25, 2020 12:38:51 am
Coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, Covid-19, Russian Covid vaccine, Russia coronavirus, Covid cases, MERS virus, Middle East Respiratory syndrome, Indian express opinionA view of a vial of Russia's experimental Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine. (Photo: AP)

The Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, set to be tested in mid- to late-stage human trials in India, is expected to be priced at less than $20 for two doses, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said Tuesday. This could mean that the vaccine could be up to three times more expensive than Covishield, the Serum Institute of India (SII) candidate which is currently the frontrunner in the Indian race for a vaccine.

The Russian sovereign wealth fund also said preliminary data from volunteers collected 42 days after the first dose indicated that Sputnik V had an efficacy of above 95 per cent. The efficacy of a vaccine indicates its ability to produce a desired result which, in the case of Covid-19 vaccines, includes parameters like their ability to reduce the number of severe symptomatic cases in those inoculated.

Sputnik V’s efficacy information, like most vaccine candidates for which the information has been announced so far, is still preliminary in nature and yet to be published in a scientific journal or peer reviewed.

Read | Putin says Sputnik V vaccine could be produced in India and China

At less than $10 a dose, the Sputnik V vaccine would be much cheaper than other candidates like those by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna-NIAID, according to RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev. At the same time, Sputnik V, like most of the frontrunners in the global Covid-19 vaccine race, is given in two shots, with the second dose given 21 days after the first.

Explained: How effective are the top Covid-19 vaccines, and when will they be available?

In India, Covishield — currently in phase 3 clinical trials — will be priced at $3 a dose. SII — which is conducting the trials for this vaccine, developed using the “master seed” from the candidate developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca — plans to apply for emergency use approval soon.

While RDIF did not specify how many volunteers it had based its 95 per cent efficacy readout on, its interim analysis of data obtained from 18,794 volunteers seven days after they received both doses of the vaccine showed an efficacy of around 91.4 per cent.

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