Covid-19 vaccines being developed by UK’s Oxford-AstraZeneca and United States’s Moderna-NIAID are the top candidates India is looking at for possible acquisition discussions, senior government officials aware of the country’s vaccine strategy said, adding that a group of experts spearheading the process will hold a crucial meeting on Monday with the heads of pharma firms involved in the development of some of the candidates.
The government will also closely track the progress of candidates being tested by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech and Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila. Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) has struck a production and clinical trials deal with AstraZeneca for the AZD1222 vaccine, which has till now been tested in the most number of people among the close to 200 options across the world, as published in Hindustan Times.
According to one of the officials, India is at present waiting for trial data for the Russian candidate, which last week became the first coronavirus vaccine to be approved in the world. “For now, we are looking at the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which is in co-production with Serum Institute of India for the Indian market, and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which has also entered phase 3 trails,” this person said, asking not to be identified.
Nine other vaccine development programmes — including ones in Germany and Israel — are also being looked at, this person added. These were part of discussions that were held at top government levels.
According to a second official, who too asked not to be named, the National Expert Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Administration will hold its second meeting on Monday and discuss with granular details of procurement processes and pricing with the heads of several pharma firms, including SII, Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila .
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