India might be able to get the latest coronavirus vaccine in their hands early next year. Reports show that they might get the vaccine at January end or early next year. This will be possible as the government is planning to provide the Serum Institute of India (SII) emergency use approval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate soon after it gets similar approval in the UK.
Firstly SII will need to apply for the emergency use, which the firm plans to do so by December end. The government is finalizing their deals with the vaccine manufacturers to get the doses as early as possible. This would of tremendous help to the doctors, nurses, and frontline workers. A Times of India report informs that the government, as they will make bulk purchases, might strike a good deal which will lessen the prices to half of the original price which is expected to be around ₹ 500-600.
Bharat Biotech’s Covaxine is also another alternative that might also receive emergency approval after it submits data of Phase 1 and Phase 2 trials. The news agency Times of India has also reported that the regulatory sources informed them that Bharat Biotech is in the process of publishing data for the vaccine, which is now in phase 3 trials in India.
The official has said, “If everything goes as per plan and the company (SII) manages to secure emergency authorization in December, we are expecting the first lot of vaccines by January-February and the first set of beneficiaries has been identified.”
A total of 50 to 60 crore doses of the two-shot vaccine will be required for the 25 to 30 crore priority population of the country which will be categorized into four different groups. Limited stock is expected to be available by January end for over 70 lakh healthcare professionals and also for the 2 crore plus frontline workers like police, municipal workers, and armed forces.
The SII is on the third phase of their trials in India and follows up of the data is soon expected to start.
The official also informed, “If Serum Institute submits its efficacy data from the UK and applies for emergency authorization here, it can easily be granted. But even in the case of Bharat Biotech, if the company applies for emergency use approval after its data from phases 1 and 2 are published, the regulator can consider the same.”
By the month of February or March, two vaccines are expected to get authorization for emergency use provided that the regulator finds the data of the trials satisfactory.
AstraZeneca had said on Monday that their vaccine is 90 percent effective and also without any serious side effects. The late-stage trials in Brazil and Britain showed that the vaccine by Oxford University is 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 when it was administered as a half dose followed by a full dose at least one month apart.
Pascal Soriot, Astra’s chief executive, said in a statement, “This vaccine’s efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against COVID-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency.”