India clears 2 more vaccines, 1 pill for emergency use

Approvals granted for emergency use authorization amid rising omicron cases in the country.

NEW DELHI (AA) – India on Tuesday approved two more COVID-19 vaccines and an anti-viral drug amid a rise in cases of the omicron variant in the country.

India’s Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya announced that the move to issue three approvals in a single day — of vaccines Corbevax and Covovax and the drug Molnupiravir — was aimed at further strengthening the fight against the pandemic.

Corbevax, Mandaviya said, is India’s first homegrown RBD (receptor-binding domain) protein sub-unit vaccine, which contains parts of the coronavirus known as spike proteins, and has been manufactured by India-based firm Biological-E.

He said Covovax, on the other hand, was a “nanoparticle,” vaccine, designed to form nanometer-sized protein particles, and will be manufactured by the local Serum Institute of India.

The health minister further noted that Molnupiravir, an antiviral drug, would now be manufactured in the country “by 13 companies for restricted use under emergency situation for treatment of adult patients with COVID-19 and who have high risk of progression of the disease.”

Eight vaccines now have approval for emergency use in India at a time when the country is seeing a surge in cases of the omicron variant.

The ministry said a total of 653 cases of omicron have been reported across the country, with the state of Maharastra and the national capital territory Delhi reporting the highest number of cases.

As infections increase, several states have re-imposed night curfews.

In the last 24 hours, 6,358 cases have been reported in the country, according to a COVID-19 update issued by the ministry.

Total cases now stand at 34.7 million, while 293 fatalities have been registered in the last pay, raising the death toll to 480,290.

On Tuesday afternoon, Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal warned of a rise in cases in the capital, introducing various restrictions to prevent further spread of the disease.

Last week, the government also announced that over 60% of the eligible population had been vaccinated, with 1.42 billion doses administered under a nationwide vaccination as of Tuesday morning.​​​​​​​

Local authorities in Delhi later issued details on further restrictions, including a night curfew and closure of gyms and movie theaters.


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