India approves Oxford Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use...

Dhaka, Thursday   28 January 2021

India approves Oxford Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use

 International Desk

 Published: 07:42 PM, 1 January 2021   Updated: 08:20 PM, 1 January 2021

India approves Oxford Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use

India approves Oxford Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use

The Oxford COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India has been approved for emergency supply in India, reports NDTV and Times of India. 

Indian drug regulator's Subject Expert Committee (SEC) on Friday recommended a grant of emergency authorization for Serum Institue of India's Covishield, raising hopes that a Covid vaccine will soon be available in India soon. 

Sources said the SEC has recommended the EUA with certain conditions. However, the final nod will be given by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), which is likely to come today itself. 

Once the approval is in place, the vaccination process is likely to start in another 7-10 days, senior officials said. 

The UK's regulator Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) had approved the Oxford-AstraZenca Covid vaccine- called Covisheild in India- for emergency use on December 30. 

The meeting of the expert panel is going on. The two groups had made presentations before the panel on Wednesday. Pfizer had sought more time to present their data.

The center is looking to start giving vaccine shots from this month, once the vaccine is cleared for a final time by the DCGI.

A dry run for vaccination is scheduled in all the states tomorrow.

Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan will monitor and analyze the dry run in the national capital. "The preparations are like general elections, where even the booth-level preparations are made. The purpose of the dry run is to be ready for the actual rollout... Potential recipients of the vaccine will be informed via SMS. Frontline workers are the priority. After inoculation, a digital certificate will also be provided," the health minister said.

The expert panel recommending the affordable Oxford vaccine to the drugs regulator is a big development for India in the fight against the pandemic on the first day of the new year, as the country has the second-biggest number of COVID-19 infections after the US. The government plans to vaccinate 30 crore people in India in six to eight months.

Like the Pfizer-BioNTech jabs, Covishield is similar in requiring two doses but is easier to deliver as it does not need extremely low temperatures for storage. It is also cheap and easy to mass-produce.

Bharat Biotech's vaccine candidate, Covaxin, showed it was safe and triggered immune responses in an ongoing early-stage trial and is currently part of a late-stage trial.