Vaccinations against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) are currently underway in many countries with several others, too, preparing to start their immunisation drives. Thus far, most countries have given emergency use authorisation (EUA) to the vaccine candidate of either Pfizer Inc-BioNTech SE or Moderna, or both. Several other candidates, like Oxford University-AstraZeneca’s, meanwhile, are either close to being approved or are in the final-stage of trials.
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Here are some latest updates on the Covid-19 vaccine front:
1. In India, officials of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) are likely to meet this week to take a call upon the Serum Institute of India’s (SII) EUA application for the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine, Covishield. No vaccine has been given EUA in India thus far. Tuesday also marks the second and final day of a Covid-19 vaccination “dry run” in four states.
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2. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency on Tuesday reported that the country would sign a deal with Moderna Inc for vaccines for 20 million people. The report came on a day the government unveiled a fresh $8.49 billion package to fight a third wave of the coronavirus outbreak. Also on Tuesday, the country reported its highest single-day Covid-19 death toll of 40, taking total fatalities to 859.
3. The United States’ National Institute of Health (NIH) on Monday announced the commencement of phase 3 trials of the vaccine candidate of Novovax, an American biotech firm, in both the US and Mexico. A phase 3 trial of the candidate, named NVX-CoV2373, is currently underway in the United Kingdom as well. Incidentally, vaccination drives are already underway in all the three countries.
4. Brazil’s Fiocruz medical institute on Monday said that it will file an EUA application for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine with the country’s health regulator, Anvisa, on January 15. Also on Monday, President Jair Bolsonaro proclaimed that any vaccine, which receives approval from Anvisa, will be made available “within five days” of being granted approval.
5. Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday announced that the country would receive the first batch of vaccines from China’s Sinovac this week. The country has agreed to buy 50 million doses of the vaccine, CoronaVac, which, last week, was found to be 91.25% effective in Turkey. Erdogan also announced that Turkey had worked on “eight vaccines thus far.”
(With agency inputs)