New Delhi, Dec 05, 2020: Two coronavirus vaccine candidates that are in the phase 3 trials could be eligible for emergency use in India by January 2021, All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director Randeep Guleria said. Recently, the United Kingdom (UK) approved Pfizer Inc’s coronavirus vaccine, jumping ahead of the rest of the world in the race to begin the most crucial mass inoculation programme in history.
As the UK gave its approval to the coronavirus vaccine by Pfizer for emergency use, experts said India’s own vaccines could be available "almost immediately" for the public right after the phase 3 trials are over and the drug regulator is convinced of its efficacy against the Covid-19.
Ram Vishwakarma of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR-IIIM) said that the emergency use authorisation (EUA) procedure in India is similar to that in the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States, a report mentioned.
"Were Pfizer to apply in India to the regulator here, it could, in theory, be approved within days or weeks here, depending on whether the Drug Controller is satisfied with the data. If the situation so demands, the regulator has the power to waive or recommend more tests, and doesn’t necessarily require Indian data," he was quoted as saying.
Now, AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria, who is also a member of the national task force on Covid-19 management, told The Hindu that Serum Institute’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin coronavirus vaccines could be available for emergency use in India by January 2021. If that happens, they will first be administered to the vulnerable and the frontline workers engaged in the battle against Covid-19 since the beginning of 2020.
Earlier, Randeep Guleria had said that the coronavirus vaccine would not be available for common people till 2022. The AIIMS director said it will take "more than a year" for a coronavirus vaccine to be easily available in the Indian markets.
If India gets emergency use approval, it would mean that the companies would get permission for a limited time to administer the coronavirus vaccine to overcome the crisis. To get formal approval, the company will have to submit all data on the drug’s efficacy, side-effects and adverse events to the regulator for the latter to decide if the drug should be approved.
Coronavirus vaccine could be ready for its administration in India in a few weeks and the vaccination would begin as soon as the Centre gets a go-ahead from the scientists, PM Narendra Modi said on Friday.
Addressing an all-party meeting with the state representatives to discuss the coronavirus situation on Friday, PM Narendra Modi said the pricing of the coronavirus vaccine and its distribution are being discussed with the states.
PM Modi also maintained that the priority would be given to the frontline workers who have been at the forefront of the fight against the infection.
"Nearly eight vaccines are on other stages of trial with their manufacturing assured in India. Three coronavirus vaccines from India are at different stages. Experts think that the vaccine isn’t too far away. In the next few weeks, a coronavirus vaccine could be ready for India," PM Narendra Modi said.