Moderna vaccine arriving in India in 2-3 days: Report
Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is reportedly expected to reach India in the next few days. The Moderna vaccine was granted emergency approval for restricted use by India's drug regulator earlier this week. This makes the vaccine the fourth shot available in India. The vaccine uses mRNA technology like Pfizer's shot and has been found to be over 90% effective in offering protection against COVID-19.
The government of India is expecting the United States-manufactured Moderna vaccine (called the mRNA-1273 vaccine) to reach India within two to three days, India Today reported. The report said that the doses will be imported by the Mumbai-based pharmaceutical company Cipla. However, the doses will be under the purview of the central government, the report added.
The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) granted emergency use authorization (EUA) for restricted use to the Moderna vaccine, the government said in a statement on Tuesday. Cipla has also been given permission to import doses of the vaccine. However, the company can only import those doses that the US pharma major has committed to donating to India.
The Moderna vaccine uses messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, which had never been used until the expedited development of COVID-19 vaccines began last year. The vaccine involves mRNA carrying the genetic information for SARS-CoV-2's spike protein, which the virus uses to invade host cells. After vaccination, this protein is translated into the viral spike protein, which triggers an immune response.
The two-dose COVID-19 vaccine has been found to be approximately 94.1% effective against COVID-19, starting 14 days after the first dose, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO has said that new SARS-CoV-2 variants—including B.1.1.7 and the 501Y.V2—do not significantly impact the efficacy of the vaccine. The vaccine can be stored at -20°C for six months and 4°C for 30 days.
India is already using the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine (labeled Covishield in India), Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN, and Russia's Sputnik V in its vaccination drive, which was launched on January 16, 2021. On June 1, India had waived testing of batches at the Central Drugs Laboratory for foreign-made vaccines that have already been approved by the US FDA, the United Kingdom's MHRA, or the WHO.