India approves AstraZeneca Covid vaccine

Published January 2, 2021
A ground staff walks past a container kept at the Cargo Terminal 2 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport, which according to the officials will be used as a Covid-19 vaccine handling and distribution center, during the media preview in New Delhi, India on Dec 22. — Reuters/File
A ground staff walks past a container kept at the Cargo Terminal 2 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport, which according to the officials will be used as a Covid-19 vaccine handling and distribution center, during the media preview in New Delhi, India on Dec 22. — Reuters/File

NEW DELHI: India’s drug regulator on Friday approved a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University for emergency use, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.

The decision clears the vaccine’s rollout in the world’s second-most populous country which, after the United States, has the highest number of Covid-19 infections.

India wants to start administering the vaccine soon, most likely by Wednesday, said one of the sources, both of whom declined to be named ahead of an official announcement expected later in the day.

A representative of India’s Central Drugs Stan­dard Control Organisation (CDSCO), whose experts are meeting for the second time this week, declined to comment.

Britain and Argentina have already authorised the AstraZeneca vaccine for urgent public use.

The CDSCO is also considering emergency-use authorisation applications for vaccines made by Pfizer Inc with Germany’s BioNTech, and by India’s Bharat Biotech.

Published in Dawn, January 2nd, 2021

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