NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr VK Paul confirmed on June 29 that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has received emergency use authorisation from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). With this official confirmation, Moderna becomes the fourth coronavirus vaccine to receive emergency use authorisation in India.
Dr VK Paul said: "An application received from Moderna through an Indian partner has received emergency use authorisation. This potentially opens up the likelihood of the vaccine being imported in the near future. This will be the fourth vaccine."
“There are now four vaccines in India -- Covaxin, Covishield, Sputnik V, and Moderna. We will soon close the deal on Pfizer as well,” the NITI Aayog member added.
Dr Paul added further said: “Moderna is coming as a ready-to-inject vaccine. We hope we manufacture the vaccine in India in the future. This vaccine needs to be kept in minus 20 degree temperature for seven-month long-term storage; normal cold chain storage will suffice if it is kept for a 30-day period.”
He also assured that all the four COVID-19 vaccines are safe for lactating mothers and that vaccines have no association with infertility.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
This development comes shortly after pharmaceutical company Cipla received a regulatory nod from the DCGI to import the COVID-19 vaccine developed by United States-based biotechnology company Moderna Inc.
Notably, Moderna is similar to the anti-COVID-19 jab co-developed by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and is an mRNA vaccine. It is based on a two-dose regimen; both shots need to be administered at a gap of 28 days. The Moderna vaccine has demonstrated an efficacy of 90 percent.Follow our coverage of the coronavirus crisis here