According to an Economic Times report on Monday, Tata Group’s healthcare venture is reportedly in preliminary talks with Moderna Inc for an alliance to launch its COVID-19 vaccine in India. As per the report, Tata Medical & Diagnostics is likely to collaborate with the India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research to conduct clinical trials of Moderna’s vaccine candidate in India. Moderna’s vaccine can be kept at normal fridge temperatures. This is lot better in contrast with Pfizer’s vaccine, which must be kept at minus 70 degrees Celsius or below. This is why it is more suited for poorer countries such as India where cold chains are limited.
Moderna’s late-stage study in November showed that its vaccine was 94.1% effective with no serious safety concerns. In December, the vaccine was approved for use in the United States and earlier this month in Europe. India makes it compulsory for any vaccine maker to conduct an additional local study if it has to be deliberated for what the country calls the world’s biggest vaccination programme.
Indian government permitted emergency-use approval to a vaccine by government institution Indian Council of Medical Research and Bharat Biotech. The government also gave approval to another vaccine from Oxford University and AstraZeneca that is being produced by the Serum Institute.
After the US, India has the world’s second highest COVID-19 caseload. However, daily cases have been decreasing since hitting a peak in September. As per India’s drug controller, the overall efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine, locally branded COVISHIELD, was 70.42% based on trials done overseas.