American multinational pharma company Pfizer on Thursday said that it remains committed to engage with the Indian government for exploring opportunities to make its vaccine available in the country.
"Right now, we are in discussions with many governments around the world and remain committed to engaging with the Government of India and exploring opportunities to make this vaccine available for use in the country," a spokesperson from Pfizer said in a statement.
The statement also added that the pharma giant is committed to ensure that there is widespread access to its vaccine, and in that attempt, it is working closely with governments.
"During this pandemic phase, Pfizer will supply this vaccine only through government contracts based on agreements with respective government authorities and following regulatory authorisation or approval," the statement said.
The Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine became the first vaccine to be approved in the world after UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) granted a temporary authorisation for emergency uses. The British regulator has granted a temporary authorisation for emergency use of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, following a worldwide phase 3 trial of the vaccine to help fight the pandemic, Pfizer said on Wednesday.
"As we anticipate further authorisations and approvals, we are focussed on moving with the same level of urgency to safely supply a high-quality vaccine around the world," said Pfizer Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla on Wednesday.
However, NITI Aayog member (Health) VK Paul, who also heads the National Task Force on COVID-19, had said in November that the arrival of the Pfizer vaccine in India might take months.
"The arrangement of cold-chains for storing the vaccine developed by Pfizer at a low temperature of minus 70 degrees Celsius is a big challenge and it will not be easy for any nation. But then, if at all it has to be obtained, we are examining what we need to do...and will work out a strategy," he had said.
Other developments from India:
As of now, Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) has said that it too will apply for emergency use licensure for the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine being manufactured by it in a couple weeks' time.
In addition, the vaccine candidate of the collaborative team of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Bharat Biotech is also undergoing its phase 3 clinical trials, while the vaccine candidate of Zydus Cadila has completed the phase-2 clinical trial.
India's Dr. Reddy's Laboratories has commenced with the phase 2, and phase 3 trials of Russia's vaccine candidate Sputnik V.