By Abba Gwale
The Indian drug regulatory body has approved COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University for emergency use.
This endorsement follows initial authorisations by Britain and Argentina, based on phase III clinical trial results that showed about 80% efficacy.
India is the second most populous nation in the world, and has one of the highest report of COVID-19 cases.
There are speculations that India may start administering the authorised vaccine next week. However, this position is not yet made official by the government.
AstraZeneca vaccine, though reported lower efficacy, seems to have better suitability for low and middle income countries (where sub zero degree cold chain would be a challenge) due to its more flexible storage temperature.
The vaccine is poised to play a critical role in the control of the pandemic, with a projection that
India alone hopes to vaccinate millions of its citizens this year.