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The Financial Express

Tata starts discussion with Moderna to launch COVID-19 vaccine in India

| Updated: January 26, 2021 18:18:24


Pharmacist Ali Zamia filling a syringe with the Moderna vaccine at a vaccination programme during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in California of the United States recently –Reuters file photo Pharmacist Ali Zamia filling a syringe with the Moderna vaccine at a vaccination programme during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in California of the United States recently –Reuters file photo

Tata Group's healthcare venture is said to have started initial discussions with Moderna Inc for a partnership to launch its COVID-19 vaccine in India.

Tata Medical and Diagnostics could team up with the India's Council of Scientific and Industrial Research to carry out clinical trials of Moderna's vaccine candidate in India, reports Reuters citing the Economic Times.

Moderna did not respond to request for a comment outside business hours, while Tata Medical and Diagnostics did not immediately respond.

Unlike Pfizer's vaccine, which must be kept at minus 70 degrees Celsius or below, Moderna's can be stored at normal fridge temperatures, making it more suited for poorer countries such as India where cold chains are limited.

Data released in November from Moderna's late-stage study showed it was 94.1 per cent effective with no serious safety concerns. The shot was approved for use in the United States in December and in Europe earlier this month.

India mandates that any vaccine maker must conduct an additional local study if it has to be considered for what the country calls the world's biggest vaccination programme.

It gave emergency-use approval to a vaccine by Bharat Biotech and state-run Indian Council of Medical Research and another licensed from Oxford University and AstraZeneca that is being produced by the Serum Institute.

India has the world's second highest COVID-19 caseload after the United States, but daily cases have been declining since hitting a peak in September.

India's drugs controller has said the overall efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine, locally branded COVISHIELD, was 70.42 per cent based on trials done overseas, but the approval for Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN has faced criticism due to the lack of efficacy data. 

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