India would be the first country to approve the British drugmaker’s vaccine, as the UK regulator is still examining data from the vaccine’s trials.
India wants to start vaccinating its citizens next month and is also considering emergency-use authorisation applications for vaccines made by Pfizer and local company Bharat Biotech. Getting vaccines to the world’s second-most populous country with one of the world’s highest infection rates will also be a big step forward in the battle against the pandemic.
Vaccination considered vital for lower-income countries
India’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) first reviewed the three applications on 9 December and asked for more information from the companies, including from Serum Institute of India (SII), which is making the AstraZeneca shots.
SII has now provided all the requested data, Aljazeera reported. The expected approval comes after data from AstraZeneca’s late-stage trials in the UK and Brazil showed the vaccine had efficacy of 62 per cent for trial participants given two full doses, but 90 per cent for a smaller sub-group given a half, then a full dose.
The AstraZeneca-Oxford shot is considered vital for lower-income countries and people living in warmer climates because it is cheaper, easier to transport and can be stored for long periods at normal fridge temperatures.