THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 18 September 2020 Need for caution: On Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine (The Hindu)

Need for caution: On Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine (The Hindu)

Mains Paper 2: Health 
Prelims level: Russian Direct Investment Fund
Mains level: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health


  • Russia’s candidate vaccine for COVID-19 appears to have found a midwife in India.
  • The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is piloting the Sputnik V vaccine, has announced a partnership with the Hyderabad-based Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories to conduct a Phase-3 trial, or large multi-location human trials here.


  • Were the candidate vaccine, developed by Russia’s Gamaleya, to prove safe and efficacious, the RDIF would supply 100 million doses through its partnership with Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories.
  • However, there is no agreement to manufacture the vaccine here unlike the deal between the Serum Institute of India and the UK-based AstraZeneca, for the Oxford University-developed ChAdOx1 vaccine.
  • Sputnik V is being developed as a two-dose vaccine on a human adenovirus vaccine platform.
  • Several vaccines that are in development are also being deployed on similar platforms, and the evidence so far is that none of these has been commercially approved for use in humans though there is an experimental vaccine for Ebola.
  • Results of the Phase-1 and Phase-2 trials of the vaccine, published in The Lancet, suggest that the evidence so far is that it has proven safe and efficacious enough to progress to the next stage of trials.
  • Controversially, Sputnik V has been granted a pre-approval by Russia’s regulators even before Phase-3 trials have been completed.

Political pressure:

  • There is immense political pressure globally on regulatory agencies to get a vaccine out at the earliest.
  • Thus, it is incumbenton a company conducting such trials to be particularly vigilantthat all good practices and necessary protocols are scrupulouslyfollowed.
  • It is well acknowledged that two-thirds of the most common vaccines produced globally are made in India.
  • The Serum Institute has committed to producing 100 million doses of its vaccine for India and other ‘Low and Middle Income Countries’ at less than $3 per dose.
  • Reportedly, half of these are for India. All in all, there seems to be a guarantee for only about 150 million doses for India, which given the country’s population is minuscule.
  • All of this of course does not account for the vaccines that are being indigenously developed in India.
  • Covaxin, by Bharat Biotech, based on a strain sourced from the Indian Council of Medical Research, and ZyCov-D, the plasmid DNA-vaccine being developed by Zydus Cadilla.
  • In Phase-2 trials now, both are being tested for their ability to produce a satisfactory immune response.
  • India has the capabilities for vaccine manufacture, cold chain storage and distribution to ensure access to citizens — and the world — in reasonable time.
  • But it must not forget that vaccines must go through their inevitably long gestation to ensure that only those that are safe and efficacious make their way to the market.


  • India needs more than one vaccine, but all must come through their long gestation.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

E-Books Download for UPSC IAS Exams

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Material


Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the International Solar Alliance (ISA), consider the following statements:
1. It is an alliance of only countries lie between tropic of Cancer and Capricorn.
2. The primary objective of the alliance is to work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: B

Mains Questions:

Q.1)What are the different tests done for COVID-19, what are the steps involved in RT-PCR?