DCGI clears SII, Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccines: Explaining what emergency use authorisation means and why it’s important


In India, drug laws don’t have provisions for emergency use approval and the process for receiving one isn’t clearly outlined

Representational picture. AP

Editor’s be aware: This explainer is being republished in mild of the DCGI’s approval for restricted emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccines developed by Bharat Biotech and the Serum Institute of India.

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on Sunday authorized the COVID-19 vaccines developed by Bharat Biotech, and Serum Institute of India (SII) for restricted emergency use.

In December 2020, as many as three pharmaceutical companies had utilized to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for emergency use authorisation for COVID-19 vaccines that they’re growing.

HFW – DCGI Energency Use Authorisation- 3rd January 2021-2 by Natasha T. on Scribd

The Indian arm of US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer had on 4 December sought approval for its vaccine from the central drug regulator, after the agency secured such clearance within the UK and Bahrain. The Pune-based Serum Institute of India sought the nod for the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield, on 6 December. Bharat Biotech has sought emergency approval for its indigeneously-developed vaccine Covaxin.


In this context, it comes necessary to grasp what emergency use approval for a vaccine means.

What is emergency use approval?

Manufacturers of vaccines, medicines, diagnostic checks and medical gadgets must receive approval from regulatory authorities earlier than these can be utilized on most people.

These approvals rely on an evaluation of the security and effectiveness of those vaccines, medicines, and many others., primarily based on knowledge from trials. Each part of the trials additionally needs to be authorized by the regulators.

In India, drug laws don’t have provisions for emergency use approval and the method for receiving one isn’t clearly outlined or constant, an article in Hindustan Times notes. However, the unprecedented disaster within the type of the COVID-19 pandemic has led authorities to subject such approvals in latest months. The CDSCO has granted emergency or restricted emergency approvals to remdesivir and favipiravir for COVID-19 therapy in June and itolizumab in July.

However, the precise course of by which such emergency use approvals are granted isn’t clear. An article in The Indian Express quotes Murali Neelakantan, lawyer and former world common counsel for Cipla and Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, as saying, “We still don’t know the story behind these approvals — we haven’t seen the clinical trial data published anywhere and we haven’t seen the protocols that were followed for each drug.”

The article quoted a senior authorities official as saying that any firm searching for to launch a vaccine authorized elsewhere should conduct native trials to indicate that it’s secure and efficient on the Indian inhabitants.

While there is no such thing as a particular coverage on emergency use approval in India, a have a look at such a coverage within the United States offers us an concept of what it might entail. The US’ Food and Drug Administration Commissioner can permit unapproved medical merchandise or unapproved makes use of of authorized medical merchandise for use in an emergency to diagnose, deal with, or stop severe or life-threatening illnesses. Such approval may also be granted in conditions of chemical or organic warfare.

However, the emergency use approval can solely be granted if the “known and potential benefits outweigh the known and potential risks” of the vaccine. Also, such an utility can solely be thought-about if enough efficacy knowledge from part 3 trials are identified.

What subsequent?

A PTI report quoted a supply as saying, “DCGI has already started processing the applications. The subject expert committee (SEC) on COVID-19 at CDSCO will deliberate on the applications by Pfizer, Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech seeking emergency use authorisation for their COVID-19 vaccines on December 9.”

After analysis, the SEC will give its suggestions to the DCGI on whether or not emergency use approval for the vaccine candidates ought to be granted or not, the supply mentioned.

At an all-party assembly on 4 December, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed hope {that a} COVID-19 vaccine could also be prepared in a couple of weeks.

With inputs from PTI



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here