The government on Tuesday announced it had accepted a recommendation by the National Expert Group that vaccines approved by health regulators in the European Union, the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom should be granted emergency-use approval in India. Those approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) would also be eligible. Till now, the authorities had insisted even vaccines that had passed large Phase-III trials elsewhere in the world must conduct additional “bridging” trials in India. This caused major delays. It is also costly, and so pharmaceutical companies that were not expecting to make great margins on their vaccines in India did not attempt to get regulatory authorisation. This was a short-sighted approach, as the need was to get as many vaccines available to the Indian public as possible in order to head off another wave of the pandemic. It may be too late to control the spread of the current wave, which has been brought on by the poor vaccination roll-out over the first three months of this year. But, even so, many lives could be saved if current supply constraints on vaccines are alleviated.
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First Published: Tue, April 13 2021. 23:37 IST