India may soon get a new vaccine in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, with American pharma giant Johnson & Johnson's single-shot vaccine likely to be available in the country by July.
The Association of Healthcare Providers (India) is in talks with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and has begun the process to privately procure the vaccine directly from the US-based manufacturer.
The vaccine, which is likely to arrive in July, will be available in small quantities initially, with a few thousand doses available. It will be priced at $25 (about Rs 1,850) in India, India Today reported quoting sources.
J&J had initiated talks with the government to authenticate its manufacturing process and specifications in the country and was also in discussions to conduct a bridging clinical study. However, under the government's new rules, vaccines approved by US drug regulator do not need to conduct bridging trials in India.
J&J had recently also started discussions with the country's apex vaccine testing laboratory in Kasauli, the Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL), through its Indian partner Biological E. With this, the vaccine is expected to be approved for use in India in the coming months.
One of the first single-shot coronavirus vaccines developed so far, J&J's Janssen vaccine was cleared for emergency use in the US and most recently in the UK. According to the World Health Organization, the vaccine's efficacy is 66.3 per cent for mild to moderate COVID-19 and 76.3 per cent for severe to critical infections. It also provides 100 per cent protection from hospitalisation for infection, 28 days after vaccination.
India has so far administered over 31.50 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses. The pace of vaccination has gone up since June 21, the day government's new vaccination guidelines came into force under which Centre will procure 75 per cent of vaccines from manufacturers in the country and vaccination is free for everyone above 18 years of age.
(Edited by Rupashree Ravi)
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