India Will Have COVID-19 Vaccine Within Days: AIIMS Director
Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is being developed in India with SII and they have sought emergency approval.
Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, All India Institute Of Medical Sciences, New Delhi said on 30 December, Wednesday that India will get its vaccine within a few days. He told news agency ANI, "India to roll out COVID-19 vaccines for a large part of the country and therefore we will see the vaccine available in our country in the very near future."
Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is being developed in India with the Pune-based Serum Institute of India and they have sought emergency approval. Adar Poonawalla, CEO of SII, announced that 40-50 million doses of Covishield have been ‘stockpiled’ and the rollout may begin in January.
This comment comes after a new strain of the coronavirus has been discovered in the UK, and over 20 passengers in India have tested positive for it and are being monitored in isolation.
Oxford-AstraZeneca Approval in UK is ‘Good News’
The approval for Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine by UK regulatory authorities is a ‘big step forward’ for India and other countries according to Guleria because, “the same vaccine is being developed by the Serum Institute of India” and the vaccine is easy to store and cheaper to manufacture than its counterparts.
"This vaccine can be stored at two to eight degrees centigrade. Therefore it would be easy to store and transport. Storage can be done using a simple fridge rather than what is required in the Pfizer vaccine of minus 70 degrees centigrade,” he added, as quoted by ANI.
New Strain May Have Entered India In November Or Early December
Guleria, who is part of the national task force that is monitoring and managing COVID-19 in the country, has said that there is a ‘robust plan’ for the inoculation drive. He added that the new strain is "still Covid-19, which has just undergone mutations and this has been happening over the last ten months,” quoted ANI.
“The virus may have entered India in November or early part of December,” he added, saying that the INSACOG Consortium that is monitoring COVID-19 in India is checking samples from November onwards as well and is gathering data around this.
India Is In A Good Position to Mitigate Crisis
Speaking on an optimistic note, Guleria said that although the new strain is more infectious, India can take action to mitigate it because the government has set up a consortium to monitor the spread of the virus. He said, “India is in a very good position, our daily new cases have come down, our recovery rate is high and the case fatality rate is down," he added.
The AIIMS director pointed out that the new strain, being 70% more infectious, can mean that a ‘large number of people get affected’. He said that India needs to be ‘extra careful’ and take adequate measures to prevent the rampant spread of the virus. “Now, if you look at our data for the last four to six weeks, there was no spike in the number of cases. We are consistently showing a downward trend. Therefore it is unlikely that this strain even if it had entered India is causing a significant effect on our cases and hospitalisation,” he said to ANI.
Guleria also asserted that the vaccines being developed would be effective towards the new strain of the virus as well as it uses “multiple mechanisms to produce immunity”.
(With inputs from ANI)
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