India might get its first lot of the Oxford University's coronavirus vaccine by January-end and early February as the government is planning to give Pune-based Serum Institute of India emergency approval for the vaccine.
The government is negotiating the price with the Serum Institute, which has tied up with British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca to manufacture the University of Oxford's COVID-19 vaccine in India, reported The Times of India.
Adar Poonawalla, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Serum Institute had recently said that his company might sell a two-shot COVID-19 vaccine for around Rs 500-600 for the general public. He also said that the government will get the vaccine at a lower price, probably around $3-4 (Rs 220)-almost half of the MRP of the two-shot vaccine.
Poonawalla said if things go according to the plan, the coronavirus vaccine will be available for vulnerable populations by January or February. And, in March or April, the vaccine will enter the market for the general public.
The SII will apply for the emergency use authorisation at the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for the vaccine in December after receiving approval in the UK. The Serum Institute has finished its phase-3 trial in the country and follow-up data is likely to start soon.
If that gets possible then soon the much-needed COVID-19 vaccine will be available in the market by January 2021. The first lot of anti-covid shots will be given to frontline workers, like doctors, nurses, and municipal staff.
Moreover, the indigenously developed coronavirus vaccine, Covaxin, by Bharat Biotech might also get an emergency nod from the Centre after the company submits its data from phases 1 and 2. At present, the Hyderabad-based biotechnology firm has started its phase-3 trials across 25 centres in the country.
However, Bharat Biotech's Quality Operation President, Dr Sai D Prasad said the company is aiming to launch Covaxin in the second quarter of 2021. An estimated 50-60 crore doses will be required to inoculate the 25-30 crore priority population when the first limited stocks of the vaccine enter the market early next year.
Meanwhile, the PMO-constituted Vaccine Task Force (VTF) will lay down the principles for emergency use authorisation in the count. Also, the government is preparing terms of references for the National Expert Group On Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) and Central Drug Standards and Control Organisation (CDSCO) to set up principles for advance market commitment, including vaccine pricing.