The Indian government and drugs firm Pfizer are in urgent talks looking to find a "expedited approval pathway” for its Covid vaccine.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla revealed the discussions were underway on Monday as he announced a donation of medicines to India worth more than $70 million.
"Unfortunately, our vaccine is not registered in India, although our application was submitted months ago," he said.
"We are currently discussing with the Indian government an expedited approval pathway to make our Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available for use in the country."
For 10 straight days, daily cases in India have topped 300,000. It recorded more than 360,000 new cases and 3,417 deaths on Monday.
On Sunday, the country set a new record for daily deaths, with 3,689 recorded. Hospitals are facing dire shortages of beds and medical oxygen, with many Indians resorting to desperate pleas on social media to secure help.
The escalating second wave of Covid infections in India, that has yet to show any signs of slowing down, poses a significant economic threat too – and a significant contagion risk to other countries and regions – experts say.
In a note on Tuesday, April 27, global brokerage house Nomura said that other geographies in Asia-Pacific were susceptible to contagion from the highly infectious variants of the virus present in India, given the low ratios of vaccination in the region.
- With reporting by Reuters