All you need to know about the COVID-19 Vaccine

All you need to know about the COVID-19 Vaccine The Oxford COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute…

All you need to know about the COVID-19 Vaccine

The Oxford COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India will be sent for approval to the regulator Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) by a government-appointed panel of experts, sources have said.

The Serum Institute of India (SII) is making the vaccine Covishield developed by Oxford University and pharma major AstraZeneca, while Bharat Biotech has partnered with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for its Covaxin.

Vaccine by Serum yet not signed?

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 centre 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. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan will monitor and analyse the dry run in the national capital. 

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.

The Serum Institute and the government are yet to sign any purchase agreement of the vaccine, though the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines has said it will give priority to its domestic market. SII chief executive Adar Poonawalla has said the company has made some 50 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and plans to roll out at least a 100 million shots by March. 

The subject expert committee (SEC) of the national drugs regulator will meet again on Friday to take a decision on the emergency-use authorisation (EUA) application of Serum Institute of India’s (SII) Oxford-AstraZeneca and Bharat Biotech’s vaccine candidates against Coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Another possibility….

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.

What does the WHO have to say?

The World Health Organization says it has cleared the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, meaning poorer countries may soon get access to the shot already available in Europe and North America. Every country that has a drug regulatory agency will have to issue its own approval for any COVID-19 vaccine, but countries with weak systems usually rely on WHO to vet the shots.

The UK has already approved the Oxford shot, the second vaccine cleared in Britain after Pfizer-BioNTech jabs.

The companies are Pfizer, SII and Bharat Biotech. While Pfizer did not show up for the presentation on the earlier dates and sought more time, the expert panel reviewed the data of the other two companies and asked for more details.

What about Bharat Biotech?

SEC had recommended that both the companies submit additional data. At Wednesday’s meeting too, some documents were found lacking and needed to be updated by SII and some additional data was sought from Bharat Biotech. 

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.


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Penned by Simran Oswal, at Earthlyspeaks


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