Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer might be promising a Covid-19 vaccine soon but it seems India would have to wait since it doesn’t have an agreement with them yet.
Only 50 million doses are expected to be available in 2020. These will be delivered proportionally by the end of this year to countries like the US, the UK, and Japan, which have signed supply agreements with Pfizer.
Health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that the National Expert Group in vaccines are in touch with all domestic and international manufacturers. This is a continuously changing equation.
The vaccine would also have to go through India’s regulatory authority–the Drug Controller General India (DCGI)–via clinical trials in the country before getting approval for mass manufacturing.
However, Indian vaccine experts have raised their concerns about the fact that storing vaccines requires storage at minus 70 degrees Celsius.
“This RNA vaccine needs ultracold storage. Not sure of BioNTech price, but Moderna is $37 a dose. Which makes these vaccines a stretch for less-resourced countries that will find them hard to deliver and expensive,” said Vaccine scientist and professor of microbiology at Christian Medical College in Vellore, Dr. Gagandeep Kang.
Currently, three other vaccine candidate–Covaxin, ZyCoV-D, and Covishield–are in different phases of trials in India. While, Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech, and Covishield, developed by the University of Oxford are in the final phase 3 of trials, the ZyCoV-D developed by Zydus Cadila is in phase 2 of the trial.