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India in talks with global vaccine manufacturers


India is in talks with Pfizer, Moderna and other manufacturers for a possible deal to buy a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), as the rise in infections represents a challenge for the country’s health authorities, they said on Monday. officials familiar with the matter.

Officials working for the Union government maintained that all vaccines will be considered for acceptance, and announcements by Pfizer and Moderna that their vaccine candidates were 90% and 94.5% successful, respectively, in the trials Phase 3 clinicians led India to recalibrate its options.

A senior official from the Center’s team of vaccine experts said: “We are price conscious, the cost factor is a big concern for us.”

Last month, Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said their vaccine would be priced at $ 19.50 a dose, a big difference from the Oxford candidate AstraZeneca which is expected to be priced at less than $ 2 each. Moderna, the other favorite, has set her doses between $ 32 and $ 37 per dose.

To be sure, two think tank officials insisted that no deal has been reached so far with Pfizer or Moderna or even Moscow’s Sputnik V, but talks are ongoing with all potential candidates.

“We are in contact with all manufacturers, both national and international. To bring our people access to the vaccine as quickly as possible, we must look at the big picture. While the Indian vaccines are promising, some other candidates are ahead in the race. We are closely following all developments. But affordability is critical and important, ” said a member of the group.

Another member said that recent news that the EU struck a deal with Pfizer and BioNTech to secure 200 million doses, but at a lower price than the US, has also caught the group’s attention and was not rule out a negotiation.

“We will secure vaccines from all possible sources. While our own vaccines are still in the running, some vaccines are close to the finish line. If we want quick acquisitions, we have no choice but to negotiate with them. ”

The central government has so far allocated 50 billion rupees, from its own resources, for the Covid-19 vaccination program. The Oxford AstraZeneca candidate would be a perfect fit.

Niti Aayog member Dr. VK Paul, chair of the expert group, said: “We keep an open watch on vaccine developments nationally and internationally, aiming to ensure that we have access to a safe and effective vaccine. as soon as possible. possible people. ”

“We can expect a vaccine in early 2021, the first quarter of the year,” he said.

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