India recently bought 300 million doses of an unapproved, unnamed COVID-19 vaccine, The Independent reported Friday.
The massive deal brokered with local vaccine producer Biological-E for a shot that is still undergoing Phase III clinical trials, India’s health ministry told The Independent. The vaccine reportedly showed good results in previous Phase I and II trials.
The Indian government has already made an advance payment to Biological-E of £140 million (approximately $199 million), with vaccines slated for production from August through December of 2021, according to The Independent. A recent surge in COVID-19 cases has wreaked havoc throughout India, with struggles over patient oxygen access and the cremation of deceased COVID-19 victims. (RELATED: Men Smearing Cow Feces On Themselves To Fight COVID-19 In India, Doctors Begging Them To Stop)
The health ministry reportedly hailed the agreement as part of an initiative “to encourage indigenous vaccine manufacturers by providing them support in Research and Development (R&D) and also financial support.”
— Harini Calamur (#StayHome) (@calamur) June 4, 2021
India is using two locally manufactured vaccines, the Oxford-AstraZeneca or “Covishield” vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India and the “Covaxin” vaccine produced by Bharat Biotech, according to The Independent. India has reportedly approved the Russian Sputnik V vaccine but also is in talks with American manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna, both of whom are withholding exports to India over regulatory issues.
The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been challenged over a lack of advance vaccine orders but government adviser VK Paul said that by July 10 million daily COVID-19 vaccine doses could be available, according to The Independent.