Two COVID-19 vaccines approved for use by government
India's drugs regulator on Sunday approved Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute, and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country, paving the way for a massive inoculation drive.
The approval by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) was given on the basis of recommendations submitted by a COVID-19 subject expert committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).
After adequate examination, CDSCO has decided to accept the recommendations of the Expert Committee and accordingly, vaccines of M/s Serum and M/s Bharat Biotech are being approved for restricted use in emergency situation," DCGI Dr VG Somani told a press conference here.
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the approval of two vaccines to combat the pandemic in a series of tweets.
"It would make every Indian proud that the two vaccines that have been given emergency use approval are made in India! This shows the eagerness of our scientific community to fulfil the dream of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat, at the root of which is care and compassion," the prime minister said.
This paves the way for the roll-out of at least two vaccines in India in the coming days.
The Serum Institute of India (SII), the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, has tied up with AstraZeneca to manufacture Covishield.
Covaxin has been indigenously developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Serum Institute of India's CEO Adar Poonawalla tweeted, Happy new year, everyone! All the risks Serum Institute of India took with stockpiling the vaccine, have finally paid off. COVISHIELD, India's first COVID-19 vaccine is approved, safe, effective, and ready to roll-out in the coming weeks.
Also, the authority granted Cadila Healthcare the permission to conduct the Phase III clinical trial of its vaccine candidate in India, Somani said.
SII had applied to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for EUA for Oxford COVID-19 vaccine on December 6, while the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech had sought the nod for its indigenously developed Covaxin on December 7.
(With additional inputs from Yourstory)