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India will wait for Oxford and Bharat Biotech shots

(This story originally appeared inon Dec 03, 2020)NEW DELHI: Even as the UK has become the first country to authorise avaccineagainst Covid-19, India continues to look at theOxford-AstraZenecashot along with some other Indian candidates as its choice against the pandemic.

The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is not available for India at present and its requirement for ultra-cold temperature — minus 70 degree Celsius (minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit) — for storage is a serious hurdle as the vaccine will need to be distributed in remote areas and even urban centres lack such facilities.

“Where are the supplies? Many western countries have already booked stocks including UK which has apparently ordered enough for its people. So, obviously these countries will get it first,” an official said.

He added while the government is in talks with all companies, it is likely that vaccine being developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca or Bharat Biotech will complete trials and seek an approval at an early date.

The government is keenly watching developments in Oxford-AstraZeneca candidate for which Serum Institute is the local partner and has said it will apply for emergency use authorisation in next few days.

Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, which is in Phase 3 of human trials, is also likely to get an approval soon as it is on an easy platform and the trials so far have been smooth, the official said.

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