While the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) giving nod to two COVID-19 vaccines, one developed by Bharat Biotech and another one by AstraZeneca (AZ) and Oxford University for controlled emergency use marks the beginning of a new episode in the fight against the COVID-19 virus; experts reveal some interesting facts that can further strengthen the morale of governments and people across the world who are eagerly awaiting the vaccine.Also Read - Omicron: South Korea Expands Entry Ban to 2 More African Countries From Dec 10

“Among the major global vaccines that are in the final phases of the clinical trials, the scientific community is of the opinion that AstraZeneca has the lowest recorded efficacy. It stands at 62.1% for the two-shot treatment basis the phase 3 of clinical trial outcomes. This was also published by AstraZeneca in the Lancet last month. While the makers have adhered to the guidelines of minimum 50% efficacy set out by both the World Health Organisation and DCGI, it however, is relatively lower than 90%+ efficacy proved by other vaccine candidates produced by Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech or by Sputnik V from Gamaleya Institute. This is an alarming situation as we can’t compromise the quality,” says Dr Amir Ullah Khan, Economist, Professor at the MCRHRDI of the Government of Telangana, and Former Advisor to the Bill Melinda Gates Foundation. Also Read - Omiron Scare: Maharashtra Reports 10 Fresh Cases of New Variant, State's Total Tally Touches 20

It is noteworthy here that, AstraZeneca has associated with the Sputnik V makers to boost the efficacy of AstraZeneca’s shots from 62.1% to 90%. To which Dr. Debkishore Gupta, Consultant & Head- Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, Head- Infection Prevention & Control, Ruby General Hospital, Faculty, DNB Microbiology, Assessor-NABL, NABH, WHO Patient Safety adds, “Given the uncertainty over AstraZeneca vaccine, this partnership between Sputnik V and AstraZeneca can benefit the latter in a huge way. While both are based on adenoviral vector technology; the AstraZeneca vaccine uses chimpanzee adenovirus, which as compared to the human adenovirus platform is not very popular among people and scientists. The human adenovirus platform on which Sputnik V is based is a tried and tested platform that has proved to be beneficial in fighting Ebola in the past.” Also Read - Tips on How to Keep Viral And Other Infections at Bay Amidst the Changing Weather

He further adds, “Also, unlike AstraZeneca that uses one and the same constituent for both immunizations, the Sputnik V uses two different vectors in two separate injections. So, using two different vectors for different doses has the potential to prove more efficient in achieving longer-lasting immunity. This explains why AstraZeneca took a correct move to collaborate with Sputnik V.”

While India and the world are in the dire need of vaccines to fight the pandemic’ such global partnerships can definitely pave way for many more in near future. Moreover, our country will benefit from such collaborations since Sputnik V and AstraZeneca are working together with the pharmaceutical manufacturers in India and both will be manufactured here.