The Tata Group’s healthcare arm—Tata Medical and Diagnostics—has reportedly started initial discussions with Moderna Inc for collaboration to launch the latter’s COVID-19 vaccine in India, according to media reports.
The reports citing officials said that the Tata Group could collaborate with Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to carry out clinical trials of Moderna’s vaccine in India. Notably, the Indian drug regulator has made local clinical trials mandatory for granting emergency use authorization to foreign manufacturers of vaccines.
Moderna yet to apply before drug regulator
While Pfizer and BioNTech had applied for an emergency use authorization, Moderna has so far not even applied for the same. The Indian drug regulator has approved two COVID-19 vaccines for “restricted emergency use” in India. These include the vaccine jointly developed by UK’s AstraZeneca and Oxford University that is being manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) and the jab developed by Bharat Biotech.
Interestingly, there are multiple controversies over the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine and how the efficacy percentage has been derived. This apart, the Bharat Biotech vaccine is yet to clear the phase 3 trials and its clearance by the Union government earned severe criticism from the Opposition.
Advantage of the vaccine
There are two clear advantages of the Moderna jab. Firstly, it has comparatively much-better efficacy that the AstraZeneca vaccine. Secondly, unlike the Pfizer vaccine that needs to be stored at ultra-low temperatures of minus 70 degrees Celsius, Moderna’s jab can be stored at normal fridge temperatures. It makes the jab more suitable for low-income countries that lack the required cold chain infrastructure.
16.15 lakh people vaccinated
India has already launched its vaccination drive and in the first phase it has immunised 16.15 lakh healthcare workers. On Sunday, it vaccinated 33,303 persons. Many of those who have taken the shot have had adverse reactions, not major ones. Some deaths have been also reported in persons who took the shot. However, government authorities had clarified that the deaths were not related to immunisation.
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