In a massive breakthrough, Serm Institute of India's (SII) COVID-19 vaccine candidate - Covishield - has been recommended by the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) which met today to examine the emergency-use authorisation (EUA) application sought by the pharmaceutical firm. With the SEC giving a green signal to the SII COVID vaccine candidate, the firm remains only a step away from making Covishield India's first approved COVID vaccine. SII now awaits the confirmation from Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) now.
The vaccine by the SII is being developed in partnership with Oxford-AstraZeneca. Notably, the United Kingdom government had authorized the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine couple of days ago, pushing its approval case inches ahead in India. In the SEC meeting today, SII submitted additional data to the experts, after which the committee recommended Covishield to the DCGI. Besides SII, Bharat Biotech and Pfizer have also applied to DCGI seeking emergency use authorisation for their COVID-19 vaccines early this month.
Pertinently, the Serum Institute of India has already produced around 50 million dosages of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine 'Covishield' and plans to scale it up to 100 million by March next year even as it awaits approval for emergency use authorisation, SII CEO Adar Poonawalla said on Monday.
The Centre will conduct a dry run of the COVID-19 vaccination drive in all states across the country on January 2. Along with it, the government has placed orders for procurement of nearly 83 crore syringes. Additionally, bids have also been invited for nearly 35 crore syringes. "These will be used for COVID-19 vaccination and also for the Universal Immunization Programme," the government said.
The dry run has been conducted in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Punjab, and Gujarat, which included a comprehensive set-up right from the arrival of the beneficiary at the vaccination centre to the administration of the shot and further check-ups for any possible adversities. A detailed report of the dry run was also submitted to the Union Health Ministry by the states to apprise the Centre of the event.