India approves Oxford's, Bharat Biotech's COVID19 vaccines for restricted emergency use

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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 Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) granted the approval on the basis of recommendations 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 situations,” DCGI Dr V G Somani told the media here.

This clears the way for the roll out of at least two vaccines in India in the coming days.

“Serum and Bharat Biotech vaccines have to be administered in two doses. All the three vaccines have to be stored at 2-8° C,” Somani said.

The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, has tied up with AstraZeneca to manufacture Covishield, while Covaxin has been indigenously developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed the approval a “decisive turning point” in India’s fight against coronavirus.