New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: A day after granting approval to Serum Institute of India's Covishield, an expert panel in the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) on Saturday recommended granting permission for restricted emergency use authorisation for Bharat Biotech's indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine, news agency ANI reported, quoting government sources.  

The CDSCO deliberated on the EUA application of Bharat Biotech after it provided additional data, as recommended yesterday. The pharmaceutical firm has developed the vaccine with the Indian Council of Medical Research. The vaccine has to be stored between 2 degree and 8 degree Celsius, which is compatible with all national immunisation programme cold chain requirements. 

The panel had yesterday granted the emergency use authorisation to the vaccine developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca, COVISHIELD, which is being manufactured by the Indian vaccine maker, Serum Institute of India (SII). 

The Subject Expert Committee (SEC) on COVID-19 of the CDSCO, which had earlier sought additional safety and immunogenicity data from SII, deliberated on its application seeking emergency use authorisation (EUA) for the shots on Wednesday and met again on Friday to review the matter. The panel then reviewed the application of Bharat Biotech and asked the firm to provide additional data. 

SII had applied to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for EUA for Oxford COVID-19 vaccine on December 6, while the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech had sought the nod for its indigenously developed Covaxin on December 7. Pfizer had applied for regulatory approval for its vaccine on December 4.

Meanwhile, scientists at the National Institute of Virology have successfully isolated and cultured the new strain of COVID-19 first found in the United Kingdom last month.  In a tweet, the ICMR said India is the first country to successfully culture the UK strain of SARS-CoV-2, which has infected 33 people in the nation so far.

The newly identified strain of the virus found in the UK is up to 70 per cent more transmissible and more infectious than the existing strain. Its presence has already been reported by Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore.

India has the second-highest cases of coronavirus in the world. Several countries, including the United States and United Kingdom have initiated the inoculation drive, with priority being given to the health workers and elders. 

Posted By: Lakshay Raja