Russia’s Covid vaccine must be effective, says AIIMS director Randeep Guleria

One of India’s leading medical experts, Dr. Randeep Guleria, director of the New Delhi-based All India Medical Sciences Institute (AIIMS), has advised caution on ‘Sputnik V,’ the coronavirus vaccine that Russia has given regulatory approval. Talking to India Today TV, Dr Randeep Guleria said before using the vaccine, it needs to be assured that it is safe and meets global standards. “First, we need to be sure that the vaccine is effective. This is the first quality that the world can look to for mass production,” Dr Guleria said.

Meanwhile, when asked if the government is preparing to tie up with Russia to buy its vaccine, Secretary of Health Rajesh Bhushan said, “The government has created the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration that will meet tomorrow. Reuters reported on Tuesday that the pace at which Russia is moving to carry out its vaccine highlights its determination to win the global race for an effective drug but has stirred fears that it may put national prestige above sound science and health.

Its approval by the Ministry of Health foreshadows the beginning of a larger trial involving thousands of participants, usually called a Phase III trial. These experiments, which require a certain rate of participants catching the virus to assess the effect of the vaccine, are generally considered necessary precursors to obtain regulatory approval for a vaccine.