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Pfizer seeks approval for COVID-19 vaccine in India

Pfizer seeks approval for COVID-19 vaccine in India
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Pfizer has submitted its coronavirus vaccine for emergency use authorization in India, the country with the second-highest number of viral infections, Reuters reported Saturday.

“We welcome interest from Pfizer to seek emergency licensure in our country,” V.K. Paul, an adviser to the government on the pandemic, told NDTV, according to the news service. Paul said the American drugmaker reached out to Indian officials Saturday.

He added that officials would likely make a decision on a more accelerated timeline than the 90 days it typically takes. The drugmaker’s vaccine has already been approved in the U.K. and is set for an emergency use authorization hearing with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Dec. 10.

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Paul said last month that it was unclear whether Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines could be produced in large enough quantities to meet the country’s needs in the short term.

India has reported nearly 140,000 deaths from the virus and more than 9.57 million infections, second only to the U.S. for total cases. Complicating the distribution is the need for the Pfizer vaccine to be stored at a temperature of -94 degrees Fahrenheit at the highest, according to Reuters.

As of late November, cases were on decline in India at large but up in the capital of New Delhi. The caseload is reportedly placing the city’s health care system under strain, with an estimated 90 percent of critical care beds with ventilators designated for coronavirus patients as of Nov. 20.