Daily Management Review

Cvoid-19 Vaccines From Bharat Biotech And Oxford/AstraZeneca Approved In India


Cvoid-19 Vaccines From Bharat Biotech And Oxford/AstraZeneca Approved In India
In its efforts to launch the one of the biggest inoculation drives of the world, two coronavirus vaccines have been formally approved by the Indian authorities for emergency use.
The vaccine candidate developed by AstraZeneca with Oxford University and one developed by local firm Bharat Biotech have been given the green light for usage by the country’s drugs regulatory authority.
The decision was described as "a decisive turning point" by the country’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
About 300 million people are targeted to be administered the vaccine by this year in the country.
With the second-highest number of infections in the world at more than 10.3 million confirmed cases to date, India has also recorded the death of 150,000 people to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
A nationwide drill to prepare more than 90,000 health care workers to administer vaccines across the country was orchestrated in India on Saturday. India has a population of more than 1.3 billion.
Data showing their vaccines were safe to use had been submitted for approval by both the manufacturers, said the Drugs Controller General of India.
The Serum Institute of India, the largest vaccine manufacturer of the world, is manufacturing the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine locally in India. The company said that more than 50 million doses a month are being manufactured by it.
The company also targeted to ramp up production to 100 million doses a month after getting regulatory approval of the vaccine, Adar Poonawalla, the company's CEO, had told the media in November.
The vaccine, which is known as Covishield in India, comprises of two doses that are administered to people at intervals of four and 12 weeks. This vaccine can be comfortably stored at normal temperatures of domestic fridges – between 2C to 8C, and it is easily possible to deliver the vaccine in existing health care settings such as doctors' surgeries.
Compared to some of the other vaccines, this higher temperature for storage makes Covishield much easier to distribute. For example, the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech - which is currently being administered in several countries – needs to have ultra-low temperature of -70C and only be moved a limited number of times which is a major challenge for the vaccine being administered in India were temperatures in the summer season can reach as high as 50C.
However it is alleged that emergency use approval for the local vaccine was granted despite the absence of data about its efficacy. It has yet to go through large-scale trials.
Bharat Biotech's Covaxin was "safe and provides a robust immune response", said the Drugs Controller General, V.G. Somani.
The vaccine had been approved "in public interest as an abundant precaution, in clinical trial mode, to have more options for vaccinations, especially in case of infection by mutant strains", Somani said.
About 60 per cent of the total vaccine of the world is made in India and the country plans to inoculate at least 300 million of its citizens by July 2021. The priority of the vaccines includes health care workers, the emergency services, as well as those who are clinically vulnerable due to age or pre-existing health conditions.
More than 55 million people a year are covered under the already existing vaccination programme in India and the country administers 390 million jabs against a dozen diseases free of cost. A well-oiled electronic system is used in the country to stock and tracks the vaccines.
In all, some 30 vaccine candidates are being developed in India.