As the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approved emergency use of two COVID-19 vaccines, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Sunday, advised PM Modi to use section 92 of the Patents Act to bypass pharma companies and issue compulsory licenses to generic manufacturers. Owaisi noted that 14% of the world population have bought up 53% of vaccine supplies globally, claiming that the existing supply is unlikely to meet India's needs. The DCGI has allowed AstraZeneca - SII's 'COVISHIELD' and Bharat Biotech - ICMR's 'COVAXIN' vaccines for restricted use in an emergency situation.
| @PMOIndia if India has to ensure vaccines for all, then we've to procure more vaccines & at a cheaper cost. Pharma Cos are unlikely to agree. S.92 of Patents Act gives Central govt the power to bypass them & issue compulsory licenses to generic manufacturers. Use it. Act NOW https://t.co/XP8evqQu3i pic.twitter.com/B5NKAw0YEo— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) January 3, 2021
Drugmakers like AstraZeneca have pledged not to profit from their vaccine during the pandemic, while Moderna has said it won’t enforce its patents during the pandemic, as per reports. Moreover, India and South Africa have tabled a proposal to the 164 member states of the World Trade Organization seeking to waive broad sections of the WTO’s intellectual property rules and to try to forge an agreement on how patents developed in the race against Covid-19 should be recognized. While the WTO is yet to decide on the waiver, India is part of the COVAX alliance co-ordinated by Gavi which aims to have 2 billion doses available by the end of 2021. Moreover, India is the largest buyer of COVID-19 vaccines in the world with 1.6 billion doses already booked from various candidates, according to the US-based Duke University Global Health Innovation Center.
On Sunday, Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) VG Somani announced that the vaccines of Serum Institue of India (Covishield) and Bharat Biotech (Covaxin) have been granted permission for restricted use in an emergency situation. Covishield - a Recombinant Chimpanzee Adenovirus vector vaccine - has an efficacy of 70.42%, with interim safety and immunogenicity data of Phase-II/III trials submitted to the SEC. Covaxin - a Whole Virion Inactivated Corona Virus Vaccine - 22,500 participants vaccinated in Phase-III trials and was found to be safe as per the data available till date. Meanwhile, Zydus-Cadilla's nCov-Vaccine using DNA platform technology has been allowed to conduct Phase-III clinical trial in 26000 Indian participants. The government has stated that the first phase of the vaccination drive will be free including one crore healthcare workers and two crore frontline workers, aiming to vaccinate 27 crore priority beneficiaries until July.