Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Boxes containing the vials of AstraZeneca’s COVISHIELD, coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine are seen inside a cold room at the Serum Institute of India, in Pune, India, 30 November 2020. Picture taken November 30, 2020. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas



Worldwide search for a vaccine for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has arrived at a critical stage now, with countries like the United Kingdom and Bahrain having given nod for emergency use of Pfizer Inc’s vaccine candidate. Authorities in the United States, too, will decide this week on giving emergency use authorisation (EUA) to Pfizer’s candidate. According to reports, the American pharmaceutical corporation has sought emergency use approval in India as well.

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With various other vaccine candidates at different stages of trials globally, here are the latest updates on the Covid-19 vaccine development front:

1. Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) on Sunday applied for emergency use approval for Oxford University-AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate, Covishield. This makes SII, which is conducting trials of Covishield in India, the second firm to seek approval for emergency use of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate in India after Pfizer, as well as the first indigenous firm to do so.

Also Read | SII seeks emergency use authorisation for Oxford Covid vaccine Covishield in India

2. Also in Pune, phase 2 human trials of Russia’s Sputnik V have begun with 17 volunteers being administered the first dose. The shots were administered at the Noble Hospital between December 3-5. On August 11, Russia had become the first country to register a Covid-19 vaccine-Sputnik V.

3. The first batch of vaccine candidate of China’s Sinovac Biotech Limited arrived in Indonesia late on Sunday night. As many as 1.2 million doses arrived on Sunday while 1.8 million more doses are likely to arrive in early January, Indonesian president Joko Widodo said. The Indonesian government has also placed orders with at least three other drugmakers, including AstraZeneca.

4. The United Kingdom will, this week, become the first country to roll out a vaccine after health authorities, last week, gave approval for emergency use of Pfizer-BioNTech SE’s candidate. The first shots are set to be administered on Tuesday, with the National Health Service (NHS) to give priority to frontline workers and those above the age of 80.