Johnson & Johnson said on Monday that it was still in talks with the Indian government about its COVID-19 vaccine, despite the country’s drug regulator announcing that the company had withdrawn its proposal for accelerated approval for local trials.
India had, in May, scrapped local trials for “well-established” foreign coronavirus vaccines as it tried to hasten vaccination rollouts to fight a second wave of infections.
“We are in ongoing discussions with the Government of India and are exploring how best to accelerate our ability to deliver our COVID-19 vaccine to India,” Johnson & Johnson said in an emailed statement.
The Indian junior health minister said last week that a team had been formed to engage with vaccine makers.
“This team is in continuous dialogue with Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson to discuss and address various issues including the issue of indemnity,” Bharati Pravin Pawar had said.
The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comments on Monday.
As of July 28, only 10% of India’s adult population of about 944 million people had been inoculated with both doses, with 47% receiving at least one shot.
Johnson & Johnson is yet to request a full approval for its shot with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, while Pfizer Inc and partner BioNTech SE, and Moderna Inc have already sought full approval of their vaccines. In India, the drug regulator had in June given emergency use authorisation to Moderna’s vaccine.