India on Tuesday permitted the import of US pharmaceutical major Moderna’s mRNA technology-based coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine, paving the way for the entry of the first international vaccine against the contagious disease into the country.

On behalf of Moderna, Indian pharmaceutical company Cipla Ltd applied to the country’s drugs regulator, the Drugs Conroller General of India, for grant of approval to import the vaccine to India.

“An application received from Moderna through an Indian partner of theirs, namely Cipla, has been granted new drug permission for restricted use that is commonly known as emergency use authorization. This is the first internationally developed vaccine for which now such permission exists today, and this potentially opens up a clear possibility of this vaccine being imported into India in the near future. Let’s see how this opportunity will be used for accessing the vaccine in the country. There must be other formalities that they will have to follow but a very important licensure has been given,” said Dr VK Paul, member (health), Niti Aayog, during the Union health ministry’s media briefing on Covid-19 updates.

Like Pfizer, Moderna is an mRNA vaccine that has rubbles of the genetic material known as messenger RNA. The vaccine works by giving cells temporary instructions to make the coronavirus spike protein. The protein is found on the surface of the COVID-19 virus.

Cipla received authorization to import Moderna vaccines within 24 hours of its submission, due to the government’s revised policy on augmented approvals for foreign vaccines.

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Joydev Mishra


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