Covaxin recommended for emergency use

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An expert panel of India’s central drug authority on Saturday recommended granting permission for restricted use of Bharat Biotech-developed indigenous COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin in emergency situation, especially in the context of infection by mutant strains, officials said.

The recommendation for Bharat Biotech’s vaccine came a day after the panel cleared the Serum Institute of India’s emergency use athorisation application for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine Covishield.

This paves the way for the roll-out of at least two vaccines in India in the coming days, while two more are in advance stages of development.

At a press conference in New Delhi, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said India was probably the only country where four vaccines were in the pipeline.

Asked about some religious figures raising doubts over vaccines, Javadekar said “our vaccine is effective” and the rest of the world was also using it. He added that vaccines are introduced after tests and those that would be brought in would be safe.

The Union Health Ministry on Saturday said the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has recommended granting permission to the Serum Institute of Institute (SII) for restricted emergency use of Covishield in India, subject to multiple regulatory conditionalities.

“The SEC of CDSCO met on January 1 and 2 and made the recommendations for the consideration and final decision of the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI),” the ministry said.

Covaxin has been indigenously developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).