Serum Institute seeks emergency approval for Oxford Covid vaccine in India

Vastavam web: The Serum Institute of India on Sunday became the first indigenous company to apply to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) seeking emergency use authorisation for the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine in the country citing unmet medical needs due to the pandemic and in the interest of the public at large, official sources said. A day earlier, the Indian arm of US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer became the first to seek a similar approval from India’s drug regulator for its own COVID-19 vaccine in the country, after securing such clearance in the UK and Bahrain.

The phase-three clinical trial of the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield, is being conducted by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India on Sunday (SII), co-sponsored by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), in various parts of the country in addition to clinical studies being carried out by Oxford-AstraZeneca in the UK and Brazil. Based on phase two and three clinical trial results, the SII with the help of the ICMR will pursue early availability of the vaccine for India, the country’s apex health research body had said last month.

Official sources, citing the SII application, said the firm has stated that data from four clinical studies, two in the UK and one each in Brazil and India, shows that Covishield is highly efficacious against symptomatic and most importantly against severe COVID-19 infections. The results are in line with other anti-coronavirus vaccines and because of the huge disease burden, Covishield is predicted to alleviate substantial COVID-19 mortality and morbidity, the firm is learnt to have said.

“Therefore, Covishield is safe and well-tolerated and can be used effectively for prevention of COVID-19 in the targeted population. Thus, the benefit to risk ratio strongly supports the widespread use of Covishield,” a source said quoting the application. In order to introduce an urgently needed vaccine against COVID-19 in India, SII, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, has entered into a collaboration with the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca to manufacture the vaccine.