India skips local testing of foreign vaccines

India skips local testing of foreign vaccines

India on Thursday dropped the need for local trials of “well-established” foreign vaccines against the new Coronavirus, While trying to intensify the vaccination campaign in the country today to prevent the worst outbreak of the disease worldwide.

India recorded the highest number of Kovid-19 deaths this month since the onset of the epidemic last year, more than a third of the total.

Only 3% of the country’s 1.3 billion inhabitants have been fully vaccinated, the lowest rate among the 10 countries with the most cases in the world.

Thursday’s decision will allow the import of vaccines developed by Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna, with which India is negotiating with very little success.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has faced increasing criticism for failing to get vaccines for its people, while a devastating second wave has invaded the vast interior of the country.

Former government economic adviser Kaushik Basu wrote on Twitter, “This is a failure of governance, as India is one of the largest vaccine producers.” “Good days will come, but the vaccine lapse will be remembered.”

India has vaccinated its people with locally produced AstraZeneca vaccine at the Serum Institute and covaxine made by local company Bharat Biotech, and has also started using Sputnik V from Russia.

But the supply is far less than the millions of doses of the world’s second most populous country.

Last month, India promised to speed up approvals for foreign vaccines, but the emphasis on local testing was one of the main reasons for the paused discussion with Pfizer.

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“The provision has now been replaced with the requirement to test well-established vaccines manufactured in other countries,” the government said in a statement.

There was no immediate response from Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson to request comment from Reuters.

The country reported 211,298 new infections on Thursday, still the largest daily increase in the world, but nearly half of the daily infections recorded earlier this month.

According to the Health Ministry data, the total number of cases now stands at 27.37 million, while deaths are 315,235.

Experts believe that this figure underestimates the actual number of victims, as only those with positive tests are counted, while many victims have never been tested.

About the author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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