The UK on Wednesday became the first country to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19, paving the way for mass vaccinations against the deadly novel coronavirus.
The British regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), says the jab, which claims to offer up to 95 per cent protection against COVID-19 illness, is safe for roll out.
The joint vaccine, produced by American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech, had recently claimed trials suggested it works well in people of all ages, races and ethnicities. The UK is expected to receive a total of 40 million doses by the end of 2021, enough to vaccinate up to a third of the population.
2. Russia coronavirus update
Vladimir Putin orders Russia to start mass vaccinations against Covid-19 next week
President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian authorities on Wednesday to begin mass voluntary vaccinations against Covid-19 next week. Russia will have produced 2 million vaccine doses within the next few days, Putin said. Russia said last month that its Sputnik V jab was 92% effective at protecting people from coronavirus according to interim results.
“Let’s agree on this - you will not report to me next week, but you will start mass vaccination...let’s get to work already,” Putin told Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova.
3. Committed to engaging with Indian govt to make Covid vaccine available in country: Pfizer
Global pharma major Pfizer on Thursday said it remains committed to engaging with the Indian government to explore opportunities to makePfizer/BioNTech vaccine available in the country. The UK on Wednesday became the first country to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 with the UK regulator Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)granting a temporary authorisation for its emergency use.
4. Dr Reddy's, RDIF commence clinical trials for Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine in India
Dr Reddy's Laboratories and Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) on Tuesday said they have commenced adaptive phase 2/3 clinical trials for the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine in India. The trials have commenced after receiving the necessary clearance from the Kasauli-based Central Drugs Laboratory, they added.
5. Oxford vaccine controversy in India
In the midst of a controversy surrounding a 40-year-old Chennai subject in the clinical trial of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine falling seriously ill and demanding Rs 5 crore in damages from Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), the firm on Tuesday assured that its vaccine candidate Covishield would not be released for mass use unless proven ‘immunogenic and safe’.
6. Mexico set to sign deal with Pfizer
Mexico's government is set to sign a contract on Wednesday with pharmaceutical company Pfizer for the delivery of its coronavirus vaccine.
Pfizer has submitted the details about its vaccine to Mexico's health regulator, Cofepris, and the country's foreign minister last month said the government expects the vaccine to reach Mexico in December.
Mumbai-based drugmajor Wockhardt said it is in talks with global vaccine makers for contract manufacturing drug substances for making vaccines as well as do the fill and finish doses out of its Indian site which has a capacity for one billion doses annually.
Drug substances are the raw material for making vaccines.
8. Pfizer-BioNTech apply for EU emergency authorisation for Covid-19 vaccine
Pfizer Inc and BioNTech have applied to the European drugs regulator for conditional authorization of their COVID-19 vaccine, following similar steps in the United States and Britain, the companies said on Tuesday. The application to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) comes after the companies applied for U.S. approval on Nov. 20, taking them a step closer to launching their vaccine.
'Indian govt never talked of vaccinating entire population with Covid-19 vaccine'
There was never any talk of inoculating the whole population of the country with Covid-19 vaccine, the Centre said on Tuesday said. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said there was never a talk about inoculating the whole population of the country with COVID-19 vaccine. "I just want to make this clear that the government has never spoken about vaccinating the entire country. It's important that we discuss such scientific issues, based on factual information only and then analyse it," said Bhushan.