Daily Briefing: India clears two vaccines for emergency use, clinical trials to continue

Covaxin back-up, for use if surge, under controls: AIIMS, ICMR heads; In 3-month trip to India, Christchurch attacker visited Goa, Mumbai and Jaipur, take a look at the top headlines this morning.

The Big Story 

Covishield and Covaxin vaccines, both to be given in two doses, got India’s top drug regulator’s approval for restricted use against Covid-19. Clinical trials, however, will continue for both the drugs and safety data must be shared with the drug regulator every 15 days for the first two months and monthly thereafter. 

Given that its phase 3 efficacy data is missing, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin will be used as a “back-up”, only if the country needs extra doses to vaccinate a large number of people,  the heads of AIIMS and ICMR  told The Indian Express. And Covaxin is also considered by some to be more effective against any mutations. 

Only in the Express

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, who was our guest at the Idea Exchange, spoke about measures to boost electric vehicle production, assures govt support to lockdown-battered MSME sector, says the govt has taken several steps for benefit of farmers, and lays out details of a multi-modal hub in Nagpur. 

Brenton Tarrant, the lone gunman behind the Christchurch attack, had travelled extensively in India in 2015-16. Sources said Tarrant largely travelled and stayed in southern states, spending considerable time in Goa. A senior intelligence official said there is nothing to suggest that his travels in India could have prompted him to carry out the attack that killed 51 people. 

With India heavily dependent on imports of lithium-ion cells, a newly-floated state-owned company inked a pact with an Argentine firm mid-last year to jointly prospect lithium in the South American country. The move is seen as another salvo in the front against China, a key source of both the raw material and cells.

From the Front Page

 A group of farmers, mostly from Rajasthan, were stopped from moving towards Delhi as Haryana police fired tear gas shells to stop them. This comes ahead of today’s talks between the Centre and farmer unions. An official said the government is “extremely concerned” and wants a “positive outcome”.

Taking a leaf out of Uttar Pradesh Government’s book, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said a stringent law against stone-pelters, with provisions to attach assets of the accused to pay for damage caused to any property, including that belonging to individuals, will be brought in.  


Protestors from various farmer unions clashed in Sangrur with Moga police Sunday afternoon while agitating against the visit of Punjab BJP president Ashwani Sharma.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot shared stage at a dharna held by the ruling Congress in Jaipur on Sunday to protest against the three farm laws.

Back in the forefront of Tamil Nadu politics just months ahead of the next Assembly elections, MK Alagiri, the elder son of late former chief minister M Karunanidhi, lashed out at MK Stalin, his younger sibling and the CM-face of principal opposition DMK, at a meeting of his supporters on Sunday evening.

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Sunday met Pirzada Abbas Siddiqui, an influential Muslim cleric of Furfura Sharif, fuelling speculation of a new political understanding ahead of the Assembly elections in West Bengal.

After scores of crows were reported dead in Jhalawar in December due to avian influenza and more suspected cases have come up in other districts, including Jaipur, Rajasthan’s animal husbandry department on Sunday announced the creation of a state-level control room to monitor the situation.

Must Read

As different courts and state governments debate its legality, there is a growing body of opinion in the official establishment in favour of a unified regulatory apparatus that allows online fantasy games — and looks at opening some doors to legalising sports betting.

RailTel, the telecom PSU of Indian Railways, is proposing to power around 600 remote government schools with high-speed broadband. The plan is to create end-to-end e-learning solutions for the schools, riding on the solid Optical Fibre Cable network, which runs along railway tracks.

And Finally…

Delhi confidential: BJP president J P Nadda’s reshuffle of the party organisation has revived the buzz over a possible Cabinet expansion, which has been on the cards for some time. There have been vacancies in the Cabinet after the death of ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Suresh Angadi and the exit of allies Shiv Sena and SAD. 

In today’s podcast episode, we talk about the aftermath of the three Hindu right wing rallies in Madhya Pradesh and the actions taken by police authorities that have drawn severe criticism from many.


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