India is likely to shift focus on Bharat Biotech's Covaxin as AstraZeneca's vaccine deliveries may be delayed. Teh month of November and December could prove crucial in terms of vaccine availability as a number of firms are expected to release late-stage trial data.
Earlier this week, AstraZeneca announced that it was holding back deliveries of its Covid-19 vaccine which seems to have made India shift its focus to its indigenous coronavirus vaccine. However, AstraZeneca's Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot dismissed all reports of delays and production snags recently.
After the announcement was made, a senior government scientist said that Bharat Biotech's Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin, could be launched months earlier than expected as late-stage trials began this month with studies showing that it is safe and effective.
Meanwhile, Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla recently said that India could get a vaccine as early as January if late-stage trials of Oxford and AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine progress as planned.
According to the ICMR scientist Rajni Kant's recent statement on November 5, Bharat Biotech's vaccine has shown good efficacy. Kant said, "It is expected that by the beginning of next year, February or March, something would be available."
This offers better hope for India as it is now likely the country will get a vaccine early next year even if there is a delay in the delivery of AstraZeneca and Oxford's vaccine.
The ICMR scientist said that the vaccine has displayed positive results in phase 1 and 2 trials and also in animal studies. However, they can't be 100 per cent sure until phase 3 trials are over.
US drugmaker Pfizer Inc along with German partner BioNTech SE and US biotech company Moderna are some of the other frontrunners in the vaccine race.
Meanwhile, late-stage trials for Britain-based AstraZeneca and Oxford's vaccine are also expected by the end of the year.
India is about to reach the 85 lakh mark for coronavirus infections. As of 7 November, 84,62,080 total COVID-19 cases were reported in the country.