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Indian pharma’s vaccine gets 300m dose government order

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The Indian government has signed a deal with domestic vaccine manufacturer Biological-E for 300 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate which is undergoing final phase clinical trials.

The Federal Ministry of Health announced on Thursday.

The order with an advance payment of 15 billion rupees (206 million dollars) comes amid a reported shortage of vaccines as the country of 1.3 billion tries to inoculate every person above the age of 18.

Hyderabad-based Biological-E’s vaccine candidate was undergoing phase-three clinical trials and had showed promising results in phases one and two, the Health Ministry release said.

“The vaccine being developed by Biological-E is a RBD protein sub-unit vaccine and is likely to be available in the next few months,’’ the release added.

This is the first time India has placed an order for a yet to be approved vaccine.

It comes amid criticism of the government’s handling of the vaccination programme as the country emerges from a deadly second wave of COVID-19.

With an overall total of 28.4 million cases, India is second only to the United States in terms of total number of infections since the start of the pandemic.

Casualties so far number to 337,989.

Experts have warned of a third wave in a few months as restrictions brought on by the second wave are eased and have underlined that vaccinating a large percentage of the population is the only way forward.

A little over 221 million doses of vaccines have been administered since January.

Around 26 million people have received both doses.

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