The Subject Expert Committee (SEC) on COVID-19 of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has recommended granting emergency use authorisation for the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine ‘Covishield’, being manufactured by Serum Institute of India. As per the information, the recommendation comes with certain conditions, but didn’t elaborate. The Drug Controller General of India will take a final call on whether or not to approve the vaccine for emergency usage authorisation. The Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, has tied up with AstraZeneca to manufacture Covishield vaccine which was developed by scientists at Oxford University. The SEC’s recommendation has come days after the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved the Oxford vaccine produced by AstraZeneca in the UK for human use.
Meanwhile, the daily new coronavirus infections in India remained below 30,000 for the 19th consecutive day, taking the total caseload to 1, 02,86,709. Additionally, the national recovery rate rose to 96.08 percent with the number of patients having recuperated from the disease at 98.83 lakh, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday. A vaccine distribution dry-run is set to begin in four districts in Maharashtra on Saturday.
State health minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday said four districts in the state have been selected for a dry run of the coronavirus vaccine. Besides Covishield, the SEC is also looking at the EUA application of Pfizer (filed on 4 December) and Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, which had sought the nod for its indigenously developed Covaxin on 7 December. The SEC on COVID-19 of the CDSCO, which had earlier sought additional safety and immunogenicity data from SII, deliberated on its application seeking emergency use authorisation (EUA) for the shots on Wednesday and met again on Friday to review the matter. SII had applied to the DCGI for EUA for Oxford COVID-19 vaccine on 6 December.