India’s drug regulators gave the country a gift on New Year’s Day: a vaccine against the coronavirus.
An Indian minister confirmed reports that an expert panel had authorized the AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use in India on Friday, making it the first coronavirus vaccine to be authorized in India.
“Last year began with corona, but this year is beginning with a vaccine,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters Saturday.
The vaccine is awaiting a formal response from the Drugs Controller General of India, which is expected soon.
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The authorization was long-awaited in India, which has the second-largest infection load in the world after the United States. India has more than 10 million reported coronavirus infections and nearly 150,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University — the third-highest after the U.S. and Brazil.
India’s announcement comes days after the United Kingdom gave the vaccine the go-ahead.
The Serum Institute of India Ltd., which is producing the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca Plc and the University of Oxford, expects the Indian government to sign a formal supply and pricing agreement within days after the shot was approved for emergency usage.
Officials in New Delhi have “indicated orally” that the first 100 million vaccines will be purchased and priced at 200 rupees ($2.74) and a deal should be inked “in the next one or two days,” Serum’s Chief Executive Officer Adar Poonawalla said in an interview on Sunday. “They will probably take another 200 million after that and then we will probably end up selling to the private market,” which might be approved in “two or three months” at 1,000 rupees a vaccine, he said.
The Drugs Controller General of India, V.G. Somani, at a briefing earlier on Sunday confirmed the restricted approval of the Astra-Oxford shot. The move came just days after the U.K. regulator gave clearance to the vaccine and is the first step to inoculate about 1.3 billion citizens in the country that’s home to the world’s second-largest Covid-19 outbreak.
“They just want to make sure they have enough products for their most vulnerable and most needy to begin with,” Poonawalla said. “We are waiting for two things: how much quantity they want and where they want it. Once they give us that direction within 7 to 10 days we’ve committed we’ll roll it out.”
Bloomberg) — Indian stocks rose to a new record, after swinging between gains and losses, as investors saw the roll out of a vaccine aiding a business and economic recovery.
The S&P BSE Sensex advanced for a ninth day, adding 0.6% to 48,176.80 in Mumbai, after earlier falling by a similar magnitude during the session as some investors took advantage of record-high index levels to book profits. The NSE Nifty 50 Index climbed 0.8%. Both indexes closed at new peaks.
The Serum Institute of India Ltd., which is producing the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca Plc and the University of Oxford, expects the government to sign a formal supply and pricing agreement within days after the shot was approved for emergency usage in the world’s second-largest Covid-19 hotspot.
“This is a buy-on-dips market. We are retaining value in our portfolio and also booking profits where there is excessive exuberance,” said Kranthi Bathini, a strategist at Mumbai-based WealthMills Securities Ltd. “We are starting the year with a lot of optimism over the vaccine.”