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AstraZeneca's COVID-19 Vaccine Cleared By Expert Panel In India

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An expert committee set up by Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has recommended the emergency use approval for Serum Institute of India's Covishield vaccine. It would be the first COVID-19 vaccine available for emergency use in India if given final approval by DCGI.

The Serum Institute of India (SII) is making the vaccine, Covishield, developed by Oxford University and drug maker AstraZeneca.

Meanwhile, the panel has asked Bharat Biotech to produce more data for Covaxin, its Covid vaccine developed in partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech had applied for emergency use of their coronavirus vaccines last month.

Indian government is planning to start giving vaccine shots from this month, once the vaccine is cleared for a final time by the DCGI. A dry run for vaccination is scheduled in all the states on Saturday.

More than 50 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have already been stocked by Serum Institute of India. The vaccines is expected to be transported from cold storage to all states as early as Saturday.

Earlier this week, AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine received emergency approval in the UK. The UK's rapid emergency regulatory approval is the first authorization for this vaccine. The UK became the first Western country to start mass vaccination against Covid-19 on December 8 after MHRA granted emergency authorization to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was approved for emergency use in the U.S., which started mass vaccination on December 14. Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine also was approved for emergency use in the U.S. on December 18.

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